Thailand curfew completely lifted by military junta amid tourist complaints

The curfew had already been lifted in some tourist resorts suffering losses

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The Independent Online

A nationwide curfew imposed by Thailand’s military junta has finally been lifted.

The rulers claimed there was no longer a threat of violence and that tourism needed to be revived.

It had previously been reduced from seven hours to four and lifted in some resorts popular with international tourists after complaints from the industry about financial damage.

Running from midnight to 4am and 10pm to 5am previously, the curfew hit the night time economy hard and stopped many people watching World Cup matches aired at 2am local time.

Political protests are still banned along with any criticism of the coup that overthrew Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra last month and the junta said democratic civilian rule will not return for more than a year.

In a statement issued on Friday, the government said: “The overall situation in other areas of the country has been resolved and there is no tendency toward possible violence.

“Therefore, in order to relieve and mitigate the impact on people's daily lives, and to boost tourism by Thais and foreigners, the curfew order is being cancelled in the rest of the country.”

Before the announcement, army commander General Prayuth Chan-ocha listed the junta's “achievements” on national television, including the seizure of weapons and reconciliation meetings among rival political camps.

“There are still many problems left,” he said. “Please give us time to deal with these problems.”

Civil servants have been told that a temporary constitution would be drafted and an interim government installed in about three months.

General Prayuth has said it could take more than a year after that for elections to be held because peace and reforms must be achieved first in the deeply divided country.

“A government will likely be set up in August or early September,” he added. “When ... we have a government, we will move forward. Then the reform council can begin.”

In the months leading up to the coup, Bangkok had been the scene of anti-government protests and political unrest that left at least 28 people dead and the government paralysed.

The government had been elected by a majority of voters three years ago but the army justified the coup as necessary to restore order.

Additional reporting by AP