Thai situation escalates but destination still open
According to TIME Magazine, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has gone into hiding and at least four people have died in the rioting. Since 1932 there have been 18 coups d?etats in Thailand, but thus far the Thai military has held back from taking control of the situation.
The situation erupted on Sunday despite a few days that suggested a reduction in tensions as crowds grew smaller on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday a large body of Red Shirts (pro-government) protesters attacked a group of Yellow Shirts near Ramkhamhaeng University.
When protesters attacked Government House, where the Prime Minister keeps her office, the police struck back. At press time, the Yellow Shirt leader and former Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had called for a general strike and for crowds to surround government ministries. The government has issued a warrant for his arrest.
Thailand is nearing its winter peak season and the?Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)?is concerned that the incidents of this weekend, the worst since 2010 when Red Shirt crowds were broken up by police, could result in cancellations just as the destination is entering its peak season. If strikes or continued violence interrupt traffic flow into and out of the country?s airports the situation could undermine what looked like a record 2014 in arrivals and revenues.
?The ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok, which had been normal to peaceful for 32 days since October 30, 2013, has turned volatile as of yesterday but are contained within one location near Government House and the Parliament where riot police fired tear gas canisters and used water cannons to hold off protesters from entering important state offices,” said a TAT spokesman in a statement issued Sunday.
The statement warns that ?volatile situations remain in the areas surrounding Government House and the Parliament and the Metropolitan Police Bureau. All 14 roads leading to the two locations are closed to traffic, and tourists are advised to avoid these areas.?
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