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Situation Update: Thailand Political Developments

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Issued at Bangkok at 12.00 (GMT+7) on 28 November 2013

BANGKOK – The ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok have been normal to peaceful. Although the gatherings and mobilisations of large crowds in different parts of the city on certain days during the month of November have caused heavy road traffic at certain times, there have been no cases of chaos or violence. All protest sites are not tourist attractions, and tourists can still travel safely and conveniently between their hotels, using road-transport, skytrain, subway and water-transport, to many attractions in Bangkok.

The anti-government protests, which started in the first week of October, began with a campaign to overthrow the influence of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of the current Yingluck Shinawatra Administration. The protests intensified from the third week of October as two more groups of protesters joined in staging campaigns against the Government’s plan to pass the controversy amnesty bill, which, according to the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, would damage the country’s economy and set back efforts to tackle corruption in society.

Although the Thai Upper House voted unanimously against the legislation on 12 November, and Ms Yingluck has vowed to kill it, the protesters have stepped up their campaigns to pressure the government with the ultimate goal of toppling Thaksin’s regime and set up a “people’s parliament”. Ms Yingluck has stressed that the Government would not use force against the protesters, and that she is willing to talk with the protest’s leaders.

Protest campaigns made by the anti-government protesters in the past two weeks have included organising mass rallies at the Democracy Monument during weekends, marching campaigns on a daily basis during this week to state agencies and television outlets and occupying various state offices, and rallying at several provinces’ administration halls. It should be stressed that all of the locations rallied or occupied by the protesters are not tourist attractions.

As of today, the anti-government protesters are staging their campaigns at the following locations, which are not tourist attractions:

  • Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue
  • Nang Lerng Junction on Nakhonsawan-Phitsanulok Roads
  • Sanam Luang on Ratchadamnoen Nai Avenue
  • Makkawan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
  • Ministry of Finance on Rama VI Road
  • Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road
  • Ministry of Information and Communication Technology
  • Ministry of Justice and its Department of Special Investigation

The anti-government protesters are also rallying at the following government offices, which are not tourist attractions:

  • Ministry of Tourism and Sports on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
  • Ministry of Transport on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on Ratchadanoen Nok Avenue
  • Ministry of Commerce on Nonthaburi Road
  • Ministry of Energy on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road
  • Ministry of Labour on Mitmaitri Road
  • Ministry of Industry on Rama VI Road
  • Ministry of Social Development and Human Security on Damrong Rak Road
  • Ministry of Culture on Borommaratchachonnani Road
  • Ministry of Public Health on Tivanond Road

Today, they are marching to the following locations:

  • Ministry of Defence on Sanam Chai Road
  • Ministry of Education on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road
  • Royal Thai Police on Rama I Road

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Consular Affairs at the Government Complex on Chaenwattana Road is open and operating as per normal. However, there may be heavy road traffic within and around the area.

For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that foreigners and/or tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political protest. However, foreigners and/or tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather.

Meanwhile, the pro-government supporters are staging their campaign at Rajamangala Stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Road. The area is in the eastern part of Bangkok and far off from the above areas occupied or targeted by the anti-government protesters.

Outside of Bangkok, the anti-government protesters are rallying their campaigns at provincial city halls of, such as, Trang, Songkhla, Satun, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumphon, Yala, Ranong, Pattalung, Surat Thani, Phuket, Phang-nga and Chai Nat. Officials have confirmed that none of the provincial halls have been seized by the protesters. No chaos or violence has been reported.

All tourist attractions in Bangkok, such as, the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on Na Phra Lan Road and Vimanmek Mansion on Rajvithi Road, Siam Paragon on Rama I Road, river tours along the Chao Phraya River, as well as elsewhere in Thailand, are open and operating as per normal. To avoid heavy road traffic in Bangkok, tourists can use water-based transport to visit the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Tourist activities in Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Phang-nga and Krabi, for instance, are operating as per normal. These provinces’ administration halls are located in official designated areas, and are not where tourists normally go to or where tour companies include in the tour programme.

However, tourists are advised to check travel route and road traffic situation as well as avoid areas where crowds may gather in Bangkok and other provinces. This is because there may be heavy road traffic at certain times and thus causing inconvenience.

In Bangkok, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) has temporarily rerouted 12 city bus routes to avoid getting stuck in the areas where large crowds gather. In addition, given the large number of protesters, roads around or within the vicinity of Democracy Monument, Government House and the Parliament may be temporarily closed to traffic.

International and domestic airlines are operating flights between Bangkok and Thai cities, as well as destinations around the world, as per normal.

Suvarnabhumi Airport has advised air travellers of possible heavy road traffic and a lack of taxis resulting from the protests in Bangkok. Commuters are advised to use public transport such as BTS Skytrain, Airport Rail Link, public buses and vans, and limousine services. Air travellers are also advised to allocate more time before flight depart or at least three hours.

Life in Bangkok and all other areas of Thailand continues as per normal. Tourist attractions and activities as well as businesses in Bangkok and other provinces are not affected, and continue as usual as seen in these THAI LIVE CAM streaming cameras that present a number of stunning preset views of Thailand’s most famous and popular destinations including Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Nong Khai.

Thailand’s main gateway, Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok and all other international and domestic airports throughout the country are operating as per normal. Transportation to and from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang International Airports into central Bangkok as well as into tourist destinations southeast and southwest of Bangkok; such as, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samet and Ko Chang are operating as per normal. The State Railway of Thailand and the Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) are operating as per normal.

Getting around Thailand

  • Bangkok, located 30 kilometres from Suvarnabhumi Airport or 30 minutes by car or 15 minutes by Airport Rail Link. Mass transit networks including BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway and city buses are operating as usual.
  • Chiang Mai, located 716 kilometres north of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 44 minutes by car or 1 hour 10 minutes by air.
  • Phuket, located 865 kilometres south of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 9 hours 50 minutes by car or 1 hour 25 minutes by air.
  • Pattaya, located 120 kilometres southeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 1 hour 17 minutes by car.
  • Hua Hin, located 227.5 kilometres southwest of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 2 hours 40 minutes by car.
  • Ko Samui, located 804 kilometres southwest of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 10 hours 34 minutes by car and ferry or 1 hour 5 minutes by air.
  • Khon Kaen, located 458 kilometres northeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 5 hours by car or 55 minutes by air.
  • Nong Khai, located 630 kilometres northeast of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or 7 hours 5 minutes by car.

Tourists need not be alarmed of the presence of security forces and checkpoints in Bangkok. Police are deployed to provide security in the city. Security has been stepped up to prevent ill-intentioned people from inciting violence. Traffic police are also stepping up efforts to ensure traffic flow in the city.

The Thai Government has announced the enforcement of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in all districts of Bangkok and Nonthaburi, Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan and Lat Lum Kaeo district of Pathum Thani until 31 December to maintain law and order.

The law does not prohibit nor obstruct peaceful demonstration held within the bounds of the law, but it enables security agencies – police, military and civilian – to effectively prevent and mitigate, as much as possible, undue disruption or impact on the safety of the general public.

Useful contact numbers:

Tourism Authority of Thailand Call Centre 1672

Thai Traffic Police Call Centre 1197

Thai Tourist Police Call Centre 1155

Bangkok Tourism Division Call Centre +66 (0) 2225 7612-4

Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (city bus service) Call Centre 1348

State Railway of Thailand Call Centre 1690

Transport Co., Ltd., (inter-provincial bus service) Call Centre 1490

Airports of Thailand Call Centre 1722

Thai Airways International (THAI) Call Centre +66 (0) 2356 1111

Bangkok Airways Reservation Centre 1771

Nok Air Call Centre 1318

Thai AirAsia Call Centre +66 (0) 2515 9999

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