Avoid all travel to capital, tourists urged

CHAOS reigns in Bangkok as clashes between red shirt protestors and government troops continued through the weekend leaving 34 dead and 211 injured.

Plans to enforce a curfew have been postponed although all government offices and schools remain shut as tourists and the general populace were warned not to venture onto the streets.

Clashes spread to Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani yesterday, which are both United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) strongholds within Thailand.

The decision to prevent the reopening of schools and the making of today and tomorrow government holidays was unavoidable because the pitch battles engulfing the capital, according to the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situations.

The centre is also putting pressure on UDD finances by banning transactions of 106 firms and individuals including military personnel seen as affiliated to the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School class of ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that removing demonstrators from their Ratchaprasong rally site was the only way to save lives.

But red shirt leaders asked for UN-led negotiations to put an end to what they refer to as “civil war”.

But a government spokesman said the time for talking was over and insisted the crackdown would continue.

The reconciliation roadmap of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva offering elections on November 14 now lies in tatters as demonstrators refuse to go home despite their leaders initially agreeing to the proposal.

The conflict has had a dire effect on the Thai tourism industry with thousands of holidays to Bangkok cancelled and many of the region’s hotels empty.

Thaksin-supporting red shirts want a ballot before the current leader of the Thai military steps down to ensure a sympathetic figure is installed in his place.

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

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