Bangkok declares state of emergency amid protests

Photo: Kitty Chirapongse

The Foreign Commonwealth Office previously warned British tourists against visiting Thailand’s capital in anticipation of the unrest.

“The situation is unpredictable, and further protests are expected. There have been calls for an increase in protest action from 13 January, which may cause major disruption to travel on main roads in and around Bangkok. You should avoid all protests, political gatherings and demonstrations,” said the FCO, as the Thai tourist industry prepared for a big upset.

“The whole thing looks more like a festival than a protest,” observed one photographer on Flickr when the shutdown officially began.

Now, though, the government has imposed a 60-day state of emergency to deal with the protests aiming to force the resignation of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

“The cabinet decided to invoke the emergency decree to take care of the situation and to enforce the law,” Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told the BBC .

The situation became more serious today as the leader of the country’s pro-government group (the “red shirts”) was shot . Business, though, reportedly continues as normal, as the government tell the army and police to avoid confrontation and potential further violence where possible.