BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's military government announced that it has fully lifted a nationwide curfew it imposed after seizing power last month, saying there is no threat of violence and that tourism needs to be revived.
Political protests and criticism of the coup, however, remain banned by the junta, which said a return to elected civilian rule cannot be expected for at least 15 months.
The curfew had earlier been reduced to four hours from seven hours, and had been lifted in several resort areas popular with tourists after complaints from the tourism industry over the financial damage it was causing.
"The overall situation in other areas of the country has been resolved and there is no tendency toward possible violence. Therefore, in order to relieve and mitigate the impact on people's daily lives, and to boost tourism by Thais and foreigners, the curfew order is being canceled in the rest of the country," the junta said in a statement issued Friday night over all domestic TV stations.
"It's brilliant because like last night we wanted to see the World Cup match but we couldn't because it was on at 2 a.m.," said Sinead Dowd, 27, a tourist from County Kerry, Ireland. "So yes, it's great."
In an address before the curfew announcement, army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha briskly listed the junta's achievements — including the seizure of weapons linked to political unrest, and scores of reconciliation meetings among rival political camps — and its plans, especially on the economic front.
"There are still many problems left," he acknowledged. "Please give us time to deal with these problems."
Prayuth told civil servants earlier Friday that a temporary constitution would be drafted and an interim government installed in about three months, in his most specific timeline yet on a possible transfer of power after the coup.
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