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Suthep Thaugsuban unveils how he will precipitate Bangkok into chaos

Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban goes on with his plans to paralyze Bangkok from January 13. He unveiled over the week end his strategy to achieve his goal.

BANGKOK- Travel agencies in Asia – and particularly in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore- start to receive since last week calls from customers suddently worried about the latest developments expected to take place from next week in Bangkok. They are reasons to it. The threat professed by anti-government protester Suthep Thaugsuban to totally paralyze Bangkok from January 13 for at least two weeks can effectively give jitters to travellers around the world. Speaking during the week end, the formerly Minister of Foreign Affairs and ex Deputy Prime Minister highlighted his plans. The main stage to his protest, the Democracy Monument in the historical district of Bangkok will be vacated and instead groups will start to gather and seize strategic crossroads all around the city.  

Protesters’ spokesman Akanat Promphan, who is Mr. Thaugsuban’s stepson, indicated that groups would particularly stand at crucial intersections: Lumpini Park (Sathorn/Rama IV roads), Ratchaprasong (where shopping malls Gaysorn Plaza, Central World and Erawan are located), Asoke (around Sukhumvit 14), Lat Phrao (near the tollway to Don Mueang airport and to Central Plaza), Pathumwan (behind Central World, a very popular area for markets and mid-class hotels) and Victory Monument,  an important cross section to access Government’s offices and hospitals as well as Chaeng Wattana Section along Rama III boulevard.

Mr. Thaugsuban promised that “the siege of Bangkok will be carried with caution to minimise the impact on the public”, reported the Bangkok Post. An assessment which is hard to believe as these crucial intersections will totally paralyze the city. Although busses will be allowed to go through, it is difficult to believe that life could go on normally… The anti-government protest leader also asked shop keepers to continue to open their business as usual.

In the tourism industry, Singapore Airlines announced to reduce the total number of its daily flights by cancelling 19 flights from the middle of January to the end of February. Asked by the Bangkok Post about bookings over the coming weeks, the  Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) President Susdivachr Cheewarattanaporn said that the big protest is likely to affect air and hotel bookings during the period to Bangkok. However, many travellers are likely to switch to destinations outside the capital city. Meanwhile, he conceded that bookings for the coming Chinese New Year were relatively small…

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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.