The US Embassy in Bangkok advised their citizens to stay alert, exercise caution and monitor media coverage following the Thai military’s invoking of martial law.

The Royal Thai Army has invoked martial law throughout Thailand, effective 3:00 AM Tuesday May 20, 2014. According to a Royal Thai Army announcement, the military has assumed responsibility for maintaining peace and order. Martial law gives the military certain expanded authorities to ensure public security and safety.

According to media reports, Thailand’s constitution and caretaker government remain in place. U.S. citizens are advised to stay alert, exercise caution, and monitor media coverage.

You are advised to avoid areas where there are protest events, large gatherings, or security operations and follow the instructions of Thai authorities.

U.S. citizens are cautioned that even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports. Consider using public transportation.

The message issued today by the US Embassy in Bangkok is closely following a travel alert issued on May 16th

The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens of the potential risks of travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest. On May 7, the Constitutional Court ruled to dismiss the caretaker Prime Minister and nine cabinet members, and an acting caretaker Prime Minister assumed the role. In March, the same court annulled the results of the February 2 national elections.

Demonstrations, primarily in the greater Bangkok area and occasionally elsewhere in Thailand, are continuing, and there have been regular incidents of violence. U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings.

Protests may occur in Bangkok or in nearby areas with little or no prior notice

his Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on February 14, 2014, and will expire on August 19, 2014.

Political demonstrations in Thailand have taken place regularly since early November 2013. Most protest activity has occurred in the Bangkok area, often around government, shopping, and tourist sites, but on occasion there have been smaller demonstrations in other areas of Thailand, including Chiang Mai. Although many protest activities have been peaceful, violent incidents involving guns and explosive devices have occurred at or near protest sites.

Some have resulted in injury or death. In Bangkok, anti-government protests have been mobile throughout the city, with large numbers of demonstrators at times swelling quickly and closing major roads and intersections. The majority of the demonstrations have occurred in the vicinity of Thai government facilities and at major intersections.

These have included Ratchadamnoen near Government House and Victory Monument, Lumpini Park, Pathumwan, Ratchaprasong, Sala Daeng, and the Government Center at Chaengwattana. Pro-government demonstrators are also maintaining a rally site on Aksa Road in western Bangkok. There is often reduced or no police presence at protest sites, where protest “guards” frequently control access.

 

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