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Thailand Travel Warning

Issued by Betsy Burlingame

Apr 09, 2010

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Thailand that the Royal Thai Government, under the order of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, has declared a State of Emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas following demonstrations by protestors from the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (aka UDD or "red-shirts"). While the details of how the State of the Emergency will be implemented are still unknown, U.S. citizens should expect to see an increase in the presence of security personnel on the streets of Bangkok and should adhere to any and all instructions from such personnel. The State of Emergency grants special powers to the Royal Thai Police and Army; however, it is not known how these powers will be exercised against the UDD demonstrators who have been protesting around the Ratchaphrasong intersection adjacent to Central World, Rajadamri Road and Soi Lang Suan, as well as the Phanfa Bridge area in old Bangkok. This Travel Alert will expire on April 19, 2010.

Political demonstrations by the UDD are expected to continue in Bangkok throughout the weekend and possibly throughout the Songkran holidays (April 13-16). As a result, traffic congestion and difficulty of movement is possible throughout Bangkok. There have been numerous incidents of explosive attacks, including several isolated grenade attacks, in and around Bangkok and Chiang Mai, over the past two months. Additional explosive devices have been discovered before detonation. Some of these incidents occurred at or near areas frequented by U.S. citizens. These incidents appear to be motivated by domestic politics and do not appear to be acts of international terrorism. Travel to Thailand remains generally safe. However, the possibility of more such attacks cannot be ruled out. U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise caution and vigilance at all times. Immediately report to law enforcement or security personnel any unattended packages or bags or suspicious objects in public areas.

The Department also alerts U.S. citizens that if demonstrations in Bangkok are forcibly dispersed, the UDD demonstrators may move to other provinces. Possible demonstration sites include provincial halls and military and police installations. Therefore, U.S. citizens should monitor public sources of information to stay abreast of the latest information concerning demonstrations and areas to avoid.

U.S. citizens are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid the areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and to exercise caution in their movements around Bangkok.

The Department strongly encourages U.S. citizens in Thailand to register with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok or through the State Department's travel registration website . For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens may also consult the Department of State's Country Specific Information for Thailand and the Worldwide Caution, located at the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website . U.S. citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 from the United States and Canada, or 202-501-4444 from overseas.

The American Citizen Services section of the U.S. Embassy Bangkok is located at 95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. The American Citizen Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy can be reached by calling 66-2-205-4049 and by e-mail at . The emergency after-hours telephone number is 66-2-205-4000.

The U.S. Consulate General in Chiang Mai is located at 387 Wichayanond Road in Chiang Mai. The American Citizen Services Unit of the Consulate General can be reached by calling 66-53-107-777 and by e-mail at . The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

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