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Thailand to lift state of emergency rule

Thailand is to lift its state of emergency on Wednesday, as tensions ease following weeks of anti-government protests.

Officials say the emergency decree will be replaced by the Internal Security Act instead.

The 60-day decree, imposed on January 22 in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, gave the government wide-ranging powers to deal with disorder.

Anti-government protesters want PM Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.

The protesters, who began their campaign in November, accuse the government of being run by exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck’s brother. They want her government replaced with an unelected ‘people’s council’.

At the height of the demonstrations, protesters shut down key road junctions in Bangkok and blockaded government ministries.

Numbers have fallen in recent weeks, however, and the protesters are now mainly occupying a city-centre park.

“We have agreed to lift the state of emergency and use the Internal Security Act starting from tomorrow until 30 April as the number of protesters has dwindled… and after pleas from the business community,” National Security Chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr told Reuters news agency.

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