Red-shirt demonstrators in Thailand have begun a third consecutive day of protest against a government they perceive as illegitimate, as tourists are urged to utilise “extreme caution”.
Demonstrators are demanding prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resign and call elections.
To date protests have been peaceful. However, demonstrators have been lining the streets of Bangkok to donate “sacrificial” blood.
Blood has also been poured under the gates of Government House in protest.
In Bangkok, red-shirt leader Veera Musikapong was the first to donate blood for the protest. “This blood is a sacrificial offering. To show our love for the nation, to show our sincerity,” he said.
Armed forced remain on standby, but have detailed plans to allow protests to continue.
In response to a developing situation the Foreign Office has urged British nationals in the area to exercise “extreme caution”.
“The political situation in Thailand is volatile,” read an FCO statement.
“British nationals are advised to avoid the areas targeted by protesters from 14 March onwards and to exercise extreme caution when travelling around Bangkok.
“If violence breaks out, British nationals are advised to remain indoors and monitor the media and this website.”
The recent wave of demonstrations are the latest manifestation of a deep political schism in the south-Asian country linked to the 2006 military coup which deposed former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Shinawatra has called protestors throughout Thailand to demonstrate at provincial city halls, while in central Bangkok protestors gathered around the Phanfa Bridge and along Ratchadamnoen Avenue.
Estimates vary, but several sources indicate that there could be around 100,000 demonstrators and up to 50,000 police and military personnel on the streets.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have both been quick to quell unrest among travellers.
In a statement released today, both organisation emphasised protests in Bangkok have not caused major disruption in the city, and consequently Bangkok remains a safe destination for both leisure and business travellers.
PATA chief Greg Duffell is keen to reassure industry stakeholders Thailand remains open for business and said: “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.”
Both city airports (Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi) are operating as normal.