The Thai government has imposed a 60-day state of emergency in the capital, Bangkok, and the surrounding provinces, from Wednesday, Jan 22, to cope with unrest, according to BBC News.
Anti-government protesters have been blocking parts of the capital to try to force PM Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.
The measure allows for curfews to be imposed, for suspects to be held without charge and media censorship. It also allows for bans of political gatherings and for parts of Bangkok to be declared off-limits.
The state of emergency was announced after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
"The cabinet decided to invoke the emergency decree to take care of the situation and to enforce the law," Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said.
The protesters accuse the government of being run by exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, the brother of the current prime minister.
Shinawatra has refused to resign and has called an election on 2 February to pacify the protesters.