It wasn't too long ago that Thailand has been an Asian paradise. People was friendly and despite having its fair share of problems, it's a tourist destination for many. In fact, @jrjohnson had requested a list of this destination because an associate of his intended to celebrate and spend his 10th anniversary in this country. Now, that I believe is no longer a feasible or good idea.
Last year, Thailand lost many tourists $ due to an unrest (of similar nature) for a week or so when its airport was "hijacked" by (I believe) another group of people. If I remember correctly, they were wearing some yellow shirts. Anyway, the international airport was closed for some 3 days or so although the disruption was controlled. Tourists were stranded and other than spending more time discovering the city of Bangkok, there wasn't that much they could do about it unless they choose to travel by road to northern city like Chiangmai or southern cities like Phuket and Krabi and took a plane out of the country from there if they must. Otherwise, it's just another excuse for a longer vacation ;-)
This time though, it has taken another twist. As far as I've read these 2 days, the country is now under a curfew. Many are afraid to go out in the day too, lest they got caught up in the "heat of the moment" & lose their lives! At last count, 50 people had been killed and 400 or more injured!
So, what is it all about? Well, in all essence, just one word: THAKSIN. Who is he? Those of you who visited Thailand often enough know he's the last prime minister of Thailand. He was accused of corruption and was ousted last year. The red shirts protesters are mostly his supporters.
The article explains in detail the why, the who and the future implications including Cambodia role if the protests cannot be quelled. As for what is happening now & if it's safe to visit, well, I don't suggest you make a trip until at least after the end of this month. Watch the news closely and let the dust settles before you plan on a trip. Political unrest is of no joking matters. I've had friends and relatives told me about what happened in the 1997 political unrest in Indonesia and how homes, buildings and cars were torched. People were killed too and some atrocious activities were going on back then. It's a horror which you do not want to be caught in. Innocents are being targeted and it's one sad ending which no one will go sought for justice even after the entire matter has blown over.
On a more personal note, I am not into politics and haven't really studied all the issues involved. However, I believe the current government of Abhisit Vejjajiva is much better than that of Thaksin. It's not unknown that Thaksin had been in business deals that gave him and his family large "incentives" although that's not uncommon in Asian political scenes. In any case, my only concern is safety when traveling to this country. Like most of its citizens, I feel any instability in the country is always a negative for the people as a whole, regardless of who's in power. Hopefully, Thailand will resolve its issues soon! I look forward to visiting again!
(A Lunch Featured Review)
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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The 2010 Thai political protests are an ongoing series of protests against the ruling government in Thailand. The protests are the result of an ongoing political crisis and turned violent in March–April 2010.
Anger against Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government was high throughout 2009, with regular threats of a military coup. In February 2010, Abhisit tightened security in anticipation of a controversial Supreme Court ruling. When the 26 February ruling came, protest was limited, but the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) announced it would organize a 14 March protest and call for new elections. Abhisit further tightened security in anticipation of the protest.
The 14 March protests were large and mostly peaceful. The protests went on for several weeks. Occasional bombs were set off away from the main protest location, but no one was injured. Tensions rose rapidly in early April, as protesters built barricades in the Rajaprasong commercial district of Bangkok, shutting down comerce. On 8 April, Abhisit declared a national state of emergency. On 10 April, government troops attempted to disperse the protesters, resulting in the deaths of 24 people and injuries to at least 800 others. On 22 April, a series of grenade attacks killed at least one person and injured 86 others. On April 28, Thai security forces and anti-government protesters clashed on the outskirts of Bangkok, with troops firing both over and then directly into a ...