Authorities in Thailand have declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and its surrounding providences, amid continuing political protests.
The Red-Shirts – largely comprised of rural dwellers and the urban poor – marched on the Thai parliament this morning, but have now retreated. Previously they had poured blood under the gates of the presidential palace, seeking to raise public support for their campaign.
Protestors are seeking the resignation of prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, with elections to follow.
However, the opposition Yellow Shirts – loyal to the middle class and urban elite – support the incumbent government, leading to stalemate.
The two factions have been engaged in the dispute since 2006, when then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was overthrown.
Travel & Tourism
While the present bout of protests has been ongoing since March 12th, tourism authorities in Thailand have been quick to point out the country remains open for business.
Last month the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), in association with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), issued a statement urging calm.
“There is obviously concern felt in some source markets about safety and security issues. This is entirely understandable,” said PATA chief executive Greg Duffell.
“Some governments have issued travel advisories that are likely to prompt would-be visitors to delay their travel plans to Thailand or, indeed, make alternative arrangements.
“It is important for our industry friends and colleagues overseas to appreciate that the protests have not impacted in any major way upon our daily lives in Bangkok. Our message is clear and straightforward.
“If you have scheduled a holiday or business event in Thailand then there is no reason to change your plans. This country needs your support – and you will always be assured of a fantastic welcome in the ‘land of the smiles’.”
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
However, the British Foreign Office has been advising British travellers in the region to proceed with caution.
“By law, tourists are expected to carry their passports with them at all times in Thailand,” warned a statement.
“If violence breaks out, British nationals are advised to remain indoors and monitor the media and this website.”
British nationals are encouraged to register with our LOCATE service.