U.S. State Department issues travel warning for Thailand

May 15th, 2010 - 11:37 pm ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The United States on Saturday issued a travel warning for Thailand as violence continues to grip the country’s capital.

The U.S. State Department warned U.S. citizens against traveling to and residing in Thailand because of the ongoing political demonstrations and unrest in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. “Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, including gunfire near the U.S. Embassy, demonstrations in Chiang Mai, and other incidents throughout Thailand, U.S. citizens should defer all travel to Bangkok and defer all non-essential travel to the rest of Thailand,” the U.S. State Department said in its travel warning.

The Travel Warning follows a less serious Travel Alert that was issued on April 28.

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (also known as ‘UDD’ or “red-shirts”) continues to demonstrate in central Bangkok. The U.S. State Department warned that the Red Shirts may change or expand its demonstration locations at any time, without prior warning. Various other groups have engaged in pro-government or counter-demonstrations in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. “There have been several clashes between security forces and the UDD and other demonstrators,” the department said. “These clashes may escalate with no warning.”

The Thai government earlier announced its intention to close off the demonstration area at the Ratchaprasong rally site in an attempt to disperse the protesters. To do this, authorities are limiting transportation services such as the BTS Skytrain, the MRTA, canal routes, and possibly bus routes.

Among other measures being taken are setting up checkpoints at all access routes to the rally site in order to control and limit access. Telephone services, electricity and water may also be cut off from the rally site and its surrounding areas.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok was closed on Friday because of the ongoing protests, and also intends to close on Monday. “If security issues persist, the U.S. Embassy may continue to close,” the U.S. State Department said. American Citizen Services (ACS) will be available for emergencies only.

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 at https://travelregistration.state.gov/.

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 acsbkk@state.gov. 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 acschn@state.gov. The after-hours emergency telephone number is 66-81-881-1878.

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