Bangkok to stay under emergency rule after blast: PM

BANGKOK, July 27, 2010 (AFP) - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Tuesday that the authorities would maintain emergency rule in the capital following a deadly bombing over the weekend.

"I think Bangkok will remain under the state of emergency while the government will gradually lift the law in other provinces," he told reporters after meeting security officials.

The bomb, which killed one person and wounded 10, exploded at a bus stop in the same commercial district occupied by anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters during a two-month-long rally that ended with an army crackdown in May.

The main opposition Puea Thai party accused government supporters of setting off the bomb, which shattered an uneasy calm in the capital since the army crushed the Red Shirts' mass protests.

The government has come under pressure from the United States and rights groups to end a state of emergency still in place across one-fifth of the country.

Authorities have used the powers -- introduced in Bangkok on April 7 -- to arrest hundreds of Red Shirt suspects and silence anti-government media.

The protests by the Reds, many of whom back fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, attracted up to 100,000 people demanding immediate elections.

Ninety people died and about 1,900 were injured in a series of street clashes between armed troops and demonstrators.

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