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Thailand to lift martial law restrictions in most districts

[JURIST] Martial law will be lifted in most of Thailand, new Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej [BBC profile] said Thursday. Sundaravej said that while the restrictions were no longer necessary after elections in December and the passage of the controversial Internal Security Bill [JURIST report], martial law will still remain in effect in three southern provinces, which are home to a violent separatist insurgency.

The Thai military imposed martial law nationwide after it seized power from civilian former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a bloodless coup [JURIST report] in September 2006. In October 2007, Thailand's cabinet voted [JURIST report] to lift martial law [JURIST news archive] in 221 of the country's 400 districts where it was still in force. In November 2007, the Thai cabinet approved a measure to lift restrictions in 41 of the country's 76 provinces [JURIST report], including Bangkok. BBC News has more.

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