United States & United Kingdom Close Bangkok Embassies

Seh Daeng wounded and being carried away to the hosptial

Picture Courtesy Bangkok Post

With renewed violence in Thailand’s Capital Thursday the United States and United Kingdom have both issued statements calling for the Thai government to continue dialogues with the Red shirt protesters but also stating that they are very concerned over the new violence and that both embassies would be closing to the public out of safety concerns.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters when asked about the situation in Bangkok:

We’re very concerned, we’re watching it (the violence) very closely. The embassy is closed and American citizens services will be available for emergencies only, essential personnel right now are manning the embassy, but it’s not open. We continue to encourage both sides that violence is not the route to resolve these issues. Ultimately, the government and the demonstrators have to get back together again and reach agreement on the path forward. There are fundamental fissures within Thai society and the only way to resolve this and to develop a civil and inclusive society is through peaceful negotiation.

Meanwhile a British Spokeswoman stated:

The embassy will be closed tomorrow (Friday) but we’ll still have a hot-line. We’ll be monitoring the situation in Bangkok on a day-by-day basis.

This comes on the heels of fresh violence Thursday after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva shelved a plan for November elections as negotiations fell apart between the Thai government and Red shirt leaders. Red Shirt protesters clashed with troops in the heart of the capital, leaving one dead and eight wounded. The incident happened shortly after the government sealed off the roads surrounding the rally site, shut off electricity, cut off water supply and all transportation around the site early Thursday evening. Among the injured was Red Shirt leader Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, better known as Seh Daeng,  who was shot in the head and is in critical condition and being treated at Hua Chiew Hospital.

Amid the violence the CRES (Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation) will propose the government impose emergency law in 15 more provinces in central, northern and northeastern parts of the country. The 15 provinces are Chonburi, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Si Sa Ket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Lampang and Nakhon Sawan. Bangkok, Nonthaburi and parts of Samut Prakan. Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Ayutthaya have been under a state of emergency since April to handle the Red shirt protesters.

To those of you in Bangkok or heading there be very careful as no one knows how this situation is likely to end. Violence may escalate over the weekend so it is probably best to stay out of the area altogether.


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11 Responses to United States & United Kingdom Close Bangkok Embassies
  1. Mike
    May 14, 2010 | 7:55 am

    Talen I am tempted to add “meanwhile the rest of Thailand continues to watch Thai soaps etc.”

    Take last night for instance CNN have live pictures of what is going on while Thai TV(the majority) pump out the usual c*** to the masses. Even the late news used CNN footage.

    Since I do not believe the Thai media is totally inept one can only assume its being censored. However this might have been partly due to the cutting of mobile phone signals in the area (most Thai TV reporters seem to favour this method of communication).

    An old Brit saying springs to mind, “keep them in the dark and feed them on manure” which refers to mushrooms, but might equally apply to where the Thai government wants its citizens to be regarding developments in their country.

    The withdrawal of UK Embassy services does however concern me since I need a letter from them to renew my visa next month!!
    .-= Mike´s last blog ..Amphawa Floating Market-Feeling the Heat Photo /Image =-.

    • Talen
      May 14, 2010 | 8:06 am

      Mike, I wouldn’t doubt that your observations are spot on. They shut down Red TV and with Seh Daeng being shot and in critical condition I am willing to bet that the government knows this is going to cause serious problems.

      The embassies are right in the firing line as it were so it might be as bit until they open…unless of course peace breaks out but at this point it is highly unlikely.

  2. Martyn
    May 14, 2010 | 11:18 am

    Talen last nights events have certainly stirred the hornets nest. Whoever ordered the shooting of Seh Daeng must need their brains reset. Expect even more red shirts to pour into Bangkok now. Last night a load were headed there from Khon Kaen. The situation is primed and ready to bang, I personally think the PM has lost grip of the situation.

    • Talen
      May 15, 2010 | 4:32 pm

      Martyn, I don’t think the PM ever had a grip of the situation.

  3. BH
    May 14, 2010 | 3:36 pm

    This is all very worrying. Hopefully Thailand can find a way through these tough times without too much violence.
    .-= BH´s last blog ..Mumbai =-.

  4. Lloyd
    May 15, 2010 | 2:12 am

    Well I can tell you the rest of the idiocracy and corruption in Thailand continues.

    Today I am stuck in Phuket with no passport and on bail after I was detained at Phuket airport whilst boarding my outbound flight to London because the Thai Immigration Bureau would not accept the documents I had relating to being stranded in Thailand for an additional 18 days after my visa expired due to volcanic ash delays and the lack of available seats as well as only having 1 blank page left in my current passport even though my extension waiver and related documents had been stamped by the Thai Immigration office at BKK airport and Malaysian Airlines office in Bangkok.

    After spending 9 hours at the Malaysian airlines office and the Thai Immigration Bureau in Phuket Town, where I parted with more than a little “tea money”, I still have no definitive answer if they will accept my documents at the airport when I try and depart again on Sunday, the next flight available.

    There needs to be a change in all levels of the current Government and administration within Thailand. WHat the reds are doing may not be the best way about it but something certainly needs to be done!

    • Talen
      May 15, 2010 | 4:34 pm

      Lloyd, 9 hours at Malasian Airlines? I think I would have gone nuts. Hope you get it all cleared up.

    • Catherine
      May 17, 2010 | 9:49 am

      Lloyd, how frustrating for you. I can only imagine the pressure you are under right now.

      I have a wee bit of a temper and in the same position, I’d be spitting mad, ready to bite off heads (whoever they are).

      These times are stressful enough without inept, greedy government employees sticking their thumbs in.
      .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Update: Expat’s Eye-witness Report: Ratchaprasong Resort =-.

  5. Jay
    May 15, 2010 | 9:20 am

    I follow the whole thing via twitter and it seems there you really get a rather balanced view of what is going on.

    Let’s hope after this weekend things get back to normal and the red crowds are gone (and we don’t have many more casualties).
    .-= Jay´s last blog ..New Website Design =-.

  6. Talen
    May 15, 2010 | 4:36 pm

    Jay, Definitely a lot going on at twitter to get a good view of the situation. I have a bad feeling though that this is just the beginning of the violence and it’s going to get worse.

  7. Boonsong
    May 16, 2010 | 3:53 pm

    Good advice, and a balanced and informative report. Thanks for this.
    I’m in Bangkok right now. Away from the trouble spots life goes on very much as normal, but there’s a palpable unease here. People are staying indoors rather more and everyone’s concerned as to what happens next
    .-= Boonsong´s last blog ..A Serpendipitous Encounter =-.