Travel direct to Krabi, tourists warned

TOURISTS are warned to avoid Bangkok and travel straight to Krabi after a state of emergency was declared in the Thai capital.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva handed broad powers to restore order to the army after red shirts broke into the seat of government yesterday forcing senior MPs to escape in military Black Hawk helicopters.

Fleeing politicians were forced to scale the compound’s walls as the generally orderly three week-long demonstration deteriorated into chaos with numerous grenades exploding.

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters, mainly from Thailand’s rural northwest, want Abhisit to dissolve parliament immediately and call snap elections so that fugitive former PM Thaksin Shinawatra can return to power.

The former Manchester City FC chairman has been on the run since he was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and faces corruption charges should he ever return to Thailand.

In a televised statement, Abhisit said: “The government has tried its best to enforce the law, but violations of the law have increased. Our main goal is to bring the country back to normal and make our law sacred once again.”

Abhisit conceded that he would call elections before the end of 2010, but this has not halted the rampaging red shirts.

A state of emergency in Thailand includes sweeping powers that aim to allow the military to restore order. Curfews can be imposed as well as bans public gatherings and media censorship to avoid  “causing panic”. Suspects can also be detained without charge for up to one month.

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