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Political Demonstrations Planned November 19-22 in Bangkok and Chiang Mai

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  • Political Demonstrations Planned November 19-22 in Bangkok and Chiang Mai

    This message alerts U.S. citizens in Thailand to planned demonstrations in Bangkok on November 19, and to the possibility of political demonstrations and road closures in and around Chiang Mai city from November 19-22 (the final weekend of the Loy Krathong festival).

    From 8:00 am until approximately 9:00 pm on Friday, November 19, the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD-Red Shirts) plans to hold demonstrations in various areas of Bangkok, including the Rajaprasong area (around Central World), to mark the six- month anniversary of the incident during which 89 lives were lost when the UDD occupied parts of Bangkok's central commercial zone in April and May of 2010.

    The streets in all directions around Rajaprasong are expected to be filled with 10,000 to 15,000 persons, and many vehicles will be parked along Rajadamri and Ploenchit roads, snarling traffic throughout the area. Although the gatherings around Rajaprasong are scheduled to peak in the evening, we suggest avoiding that area throughout the day and evening. It is possible that Siam Paragon will also be affected. A smaller demonstration is planned in the morning at Klong Prem Prison on Ngam Wong Wan Road.

    Also, media report that supporters of the UDD plan a rally November 20 near the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek site in Mae Hia, just south of Chiang Mai city. Demonstrations at other sites in and around Chiang Mai city are possible November 19-22. In addition, Loy Krathong celebrations in Chiang Mai regularly lead to road closures and traffic delays. In particular, expect heavy traffic in the Mae Jo area November 20 for the mass release of floating lanterns, and road closures in central Chiang Mai city November 22 for the Loy Krathong parade.

    We are not aware of any general, specific, or implied threat to U.S. citizens or U.S. interests throughout this period. However, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence with little or no warning. You should avoid areas that may be targeted for demonstrations and exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations or large gatherings. You should monitor local media to keep updated with the latest information about demonstrations and areas to avoid. Although the level of violence in Bangkok and Chiang Mai subsided following the UDD protests in April and May 2010, the potential for random acts of politically-motivated violence remains. You should maintain a heightened sense of awareness, be cognizant of any unattended packages/bags in public/crowded places, and report any suspicious behavior to the nearest law enforcement personnel.
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