Demonstrations in Thailand Spawn Travel WarningsSeveral countries issued travel warnings this week because of protestor demonstrations in Bangkok, Thailand.
The country’s Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told reporters that on Wednesday nine countries had officially issued travel warnings for their citizens either travelling or living in Thailand.
The latest countries issuing travel warnings are Austria, Sweden, Taiwan, France, United Kingdom, Israel, Japan, Canada, and Brazil. The United States Embassy in Bangkok posted its travel warning on 4 November.
The unrest in the nation’s capital came after the Thai government tried to pass a blanket amnesty bill to absolve all former political leaders of any past wrongdoing.
On Thursday, the Thai government decided to comply with protestor demands and withdrew the amnesty bill. However, it is only suspended and can be introduced again within 180 days.
Thai demonstrators want the bill destroyed altogether. Thus there is still potential for demonstrations into the week of 11 November.
Thai citizens see this proposed amnesty bill as an attempt to bring former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra back to the country. Mr. Thaksin was ousted in 2006 by a military coup and later charged with several crimes related to corruption while in office. He continues to live in exile because of the charges against him.
The current Prime Minister is Mr. Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra. Opponents of the amnesty bill argue that the current Prime Minister is trying to make a way for her brother to return.
Foreigners are usually never targeted in these protests. However it is recommended that a foreigner avoid the demonstrations as there have been instances such as in 2010 when peaceful gatherings turned violent.
The demonstrations are typically peaceful however they bring out large crowds that cause significant traffic problems and disruption of local businesses.
Prime Minister Yingluck reassured the public that only police will be monitoring the demonstrations and there are no plans to utilize the military or impose a curfew which was the case during the 2010 riots.
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