Thailand’s government announced Tuesday that it will impose a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas beginning Wednesday, January 22.

The move comes ahead of elections scheduled for February 2 which are being boycotted by the opposition Democrat Party.

The so-called ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ protests entered their second week yesterday, the latest upsurge in anti-government rallies that have been ongoing since November last year.

The protesters, led by former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, are looking to stop elections, remove interim Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and install an unelected ‘people’s council’ to run the country.

The State of Emergency (SoE), announced by Pheu Thai MP Chalerm Yubamrung, is the first declared since the deadly Red Shirt crackdown in 2010 which claimed more than 90 lives. The Yingluck Shinawatra government imposed the Internal Security Act (ISA), which is seen as a watered down version of the SoE, in Bangkok and some surrounding districts amid heightened tensions in late November.

At this stage it seems unclear what the SoE means in real terms:

 

Associated Press: 

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s government has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with protests that have stirred up violent attacks.

Labor Minister Chalerm Yubumrung announced that the measure will take effect Wednesday.

The emergency decree greatly expands the power of security forces to issue orders and search, arrest and detain people, with limited judicial and parliamentary oversight. The protesters have been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.