Statement on Planned Political Demonstrations


Embassy of the United States of America
Bangkok
March 11, 2010
Statement on Planned Political Demonstrations
Thailand is a close friend and ally of the United States.
And as a long-time friend, we are closely watching the current situation in Thailand.  The United States believes that differences should be addressed through Thailand’s democratic institutions and not through violence.
Peaceful demonstrations are a hallmark of a democratic society.  We call on protesters and their leaders to forswear the use of violence and to exercise their right to assemble and protest peacefully, in accordance with the law.  We also encourage the Royal Thai Government to exercise appropriate restraint.
#018/10
This message alerts U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Thailand that political demonstrations by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (aka UDD or “red-shirts”) are expected to begin in Bangkok towards the end of this week and could last well into next week.  The main demonstration is expected to occur near Government House and along Ratchadamnoen Road in the Dusit district of Bangkok, but the UDD has also announced plans for demonstrations in other parts of town.  As a result, traffic congestion and difficulty of movement is possible throughout Bangkok.   U.S. citizens should be alert to the possibility of UDD demonstrations or gatherings elsewhere in Thailand as well.
While UDD leadership has pledged that the demonstrations will be peaceful, the possibility of violence cannot be ruled out and the government has invoked the Internal Security Act (ISA), which gives the police and military expanded powers to maintain security.  U.S. citizens are reminded of the small bombs which exploded (or were detected) in Bangkok in late February; Thai authorities are closely monitoring the possibility of similar occurrences.
Therefore, U.S. citizens should, particularly over the March 12-14 weekend, pay close attention to public sources of information, including media reporting and the U.S. Embassy website, concerning events on the streets of Bangkok and should be aware of their surroundings at all times.  We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations and to exercise caution in their movements around Bangkok or if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.
U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Thailand are encouraged to register with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy. 

Embassy can be reached at :

American Citizen Services, U.S. Embassy Bangkok
95 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Tel: +66-2-205-4049
E-mail: acsbkk@state.gov
Home Page: http://bangkok.usembassy.gov/embassy/acs.html


U.S. Consulate General Chiang Mai
387 Wichayanond Road
Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand
Telephone: 66-53-107-700
Emergency weekend duty phone: 66-81-881-1878
 
Home Page : http://chiangmai.usconsulate.gov/ 

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