As violent protests reached their climax on Sunday and Monday, Tuesday saw the situation normalizing again the Thai capital. However, the leader of the protest movement Suthep Thaugsuban warns already of more rallies after December 5th, the date to birthday’s celebration of H.M. the King.
BANGKOK – The ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok, which turned sporadically violent turned on December 1 and 2, eased on Tuesday according to information from the government as well as from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Some observers spoke even from a festive atmosphere as protesters finally managed to enter without any violence at the Metropolitan Police Bureau and also within the compound of the Government’s House. Media reported scenes of police and protesters shaking hands and exchanging flowers.
For tourists visiting the kingdom, it should be stressed that the four volatile sites are within a small quarter of Bangkok. No tourists are hurt or affected by the situations. Also, it should be stressed that tourists have not been targeted in the ongoing political protests.
Tourists still should avoid the protest areas surrounding Government House and the Parliament and the Metropolitan Police Bureau, as well as Government Complex on Chaengwattana Road. Given the large number of people at the above mentioned locations, roads around or within the areas may be closed to traffic.
Outside of Bangkok, the anti-government protesters are also rallying at several provincial administration halls. 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.
Tourists are advised to be vigilant and avoid areas where crowds may gather. Tourists are also advised to check travel route and road traffic situation to avoid getting caught in traffic or they can use other means of transportation to getting around in Bangkok, including BTS Skytrain, MRT Subway, Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link’s Express and City Lines, and water-transport.
The cooling down in protest might however be only temporary. First due to the strong stance of protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban who wants to continue fighting. “We can celebrate, but please do not get carried away,” said Mr. Thaugsuban on Tuesday. “This is a victory but it’s not a decisive victory,” he added. Mr. Thaugsuban vowed to pursuit rallies after December 5th. “Our determination is to wipe out the ‘Thaksin regime’ from the country,” he explained.
Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.