Thai government declares state of emergency in Bangkok
Published: 22/01/2014 - Filed under: News »
Thailand's government has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, to remain in effect for the next 60 days.
The move, which is in response to protests and to cope with unrest, has resulted in countries around the world raising travel advisories against visiting the region.
The British government has urged caution when travelling to the country, in particular to Bangkok.
A statement read: "You should take extra care and avoid all protests, political gatherings, demonstrations and marches. If you're travelling to the airport, allow extra time to take account of possible transport delays, and consider using the airport rail link."
Thai Airways today said Bangkok "remains a safe place to travel".
Wit Kitchathorn, the carrier's general manager for UK and Ireland, said: "Our advice would be to avoid any areas where protests are taking place.
"Thai is still operating a normal service throughout the demonstrations but we do suggest to all passengers to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport at least four hours prior to their scheduled flight departure time."
Nine people have been killed, and hundreds more injured, since the protests began in late November.
The declaration of a state of emergency allows Thailand's security forces to search, arrest and detain people as they see fit. It does not involve a city-wide curfew.
Ardmarnoch - 24/01/2014 01:56
Coming into BKK from SIN with Tiger on Monday, I think they were lucky if they had a 40% load factor. I wonder if this is being repeated on other carriers, as there is a clear and significant reduction in tourist around town.
However at this time the protest are very "Thai". The protestors have blocked the roads at many major junctions. The empty roads have been taken over by street retailers and food sellers who are doing a good trade with protestors (limited numbers really) and your regular people in the street. In many ways it is as if the people have "pedestrianised" many of the major streets. Protestors are directing traffic around the road blocks. To add to the apparent party atmosphere, live rock bands are providing entertainment on the stages used by the protest leaders. There was quite a crowd yesterday around Suthep, the protest leader, when he made a trip along part of Sukhumvit between Chidlom and Asoke and it was very difficult to squeeze through the crowd. Due to road closures, access to the car park at Paragon has been prevented, making life difficult for the wealthy "hi society" Thais who will never get out of their chauffeur driven cars - so a number of the big sores are closing at 6PM. However your regular Thais are just parking in long parallel lines along the closed streets near Siam.
So at this time all very Thai and friendly. For now....
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