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Thai government to maintain martial law until 'political undercurrents' subside

[JURIST] The interim Thailand government installed following a military coup [JURIST report] in September indicated Monday that it will not lift martial law until supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] reduce their efforts to destabilize the political structure. Defense Minister Gen. Boonrawd Somtat said that the government would not lift martial law until "there are no political undercurrents." Thaksin has denied any involvement in political unrest in Thailand; Thaksin legal advisor Noppadol Patthama said Sunday that Thaksin does not want "anything that causes divisiveness in Thailand."

Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont [official website; BBC profile] said Sunday that a decision to lift martial law must be made prudently [JURIST report] and in close consultation with security officials, but promised [JURIST report] to lift martial law "as soon as possible." Military leaders have defended martial law [JURIST report], arguing that it does not intrude on the daily lives of Thai citizens. Human rights groups and the US government [JURIST reports] have urged the interim government to revoke martial law, calling the emergency provisions and the military-sponsored interim government a threat to democracy. AP has more.

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