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Thai authorites threaten crackdown as anti-governemnt protests continue

THAI authorities continued a crackdown on popular anti-government protests yesterday as prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha refused to resign.

An emergency cabinet meeting took place yesterday morning after tens of thousands thronged the streets of Bangkok on Thursday night in spite of a ban on protests.

As demonstrations continued yesterday, the government said it was preparing tough action under new emergency measures agreed on Thursday.

The decree gave authorities the power to arrest demonstrators without warrants and to seize “electronic communications equipment, data and weapons” from them.

Online messages that “threaten national security” are also banned.

Protesters have targeted Mr Prayuth, who led the 2014 military coup, and King Maha Vajiralongkorn, with protests posing the biggest-ever threat to the new Thai Establishment.

“I’m not quitting,” the prime minister said. “The government must use the emergency decree. We have to proceed because the situation became violent. … It is being used for 30 days, or less if the situation eases.”

The student-led protests started in July, demanding democratic reform of a political system dominated by the monarchy and armed forces.

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