City bus passengers look at a life-size figure of a traffic policeman erected at victory monument intersection, a site Thai anti-government protesters stage a rally at, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
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Thailand's government on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with protests that have stirred up violent attacks, adding to the country's months-long sense of crisis.The state of emergency follows increasing attacks at protest sites for which the government and the protesters blame each other.Nine people have been killed and hundreds hurt in violence since the protests began in early November. The protesters escalated their tactics this month with a threat to "shut down" the capital to prevent the government from functioning.The protesters have been demanding Yingluck's resignation to make way for an appointed government to implement reforms to fight corruption. Yingluck called elections for Feb. 2 but the protesters are insisting they not be held.The opposition Democrat Party, closely aligned with the protesters, is boycotting the polls.The emergency decree was last used during the 2010 unrest, when Suthep was deputy prime minister in the Democrat government and headed the agency overseeing its application. The Red Shirt protesters were assisted by a small, shadowy armed militia, and at least 90 people, mostly protesters, died in violence which peaked when soldiers in combat gear swept demonstrators from the streets.
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