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State of emergency declared in Bangkok

BANGKOK, Apr 12 – Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva announced a state of emergency Sunday in Bangkok and surrounding areas after protests that forced the cancellation of a regional summit.

"The government has tried all along to avoid violence but the protest has developed and they have used actions incompatible with the constitution," he said in a televised speech.

"Now the government is unable to avoid this state of emergency," he added.

"In the past we have tried to maintain normalcy, but now we must speed up our efforts to restore the situation before it worsens."

Abhisit was speaking after police arrested the leader of the protesters who Saturday stormed the luxury hotel venue for the summit at the beach resort of Pattaya.

Authorities were forced to scrap the meeting and evacuate foreign leaders, some of them by helicopter from the hotel roof, in a major embarrassment for Abhisit’s government.

State television said the emergency was imposed "because the situation is worsening with a group of people inciting unrest."

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