UK and Australia urge citizens to be cautious

national February 02, 2014 00:00

By The Sunday Nation

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Britain and Australia have warned their nationals in Bangkok to exercise a high degree of caution due to the possibility of violence, as Thais go to the polls today.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of the United Kingdom has urged Britons to stay in door, take extra care, and avoid all protests.

“On February 2, there are likely to be protests at polling locations and some of these could turn violent. Be alert to the situation, avoid all protests, and if you’re in any doubt about your safety on February 2, stay in your accommodation,” the agency advised.
The FCO has updated its advice following further violence after advance voting on January 26, according to a report on the Travel and Tour World website.
Australia, meanwhile, also has advised its citizens to avoid all polling places, political rallies and protest activities in the election period.
“You should be aware of the potential for confrontation between groups of protesters, and between protesters and members of the security forces. We advise Australians to exercise a high degree of caution in Thailand due to the possibility of civil unrest and the threat of terrorist attack,” said a warning on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Smart Traveller website.
It said that confrontations and violent incidents continue to be reported at protest locations in Bangkok. The security environment remains volatile at this time, particularly in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
The report noted the use of hand grenades against protesters, attacks during the day in busy public areas around protest sites in central Bangkok and when protesters moved around the city. 
“A number of shootings and attacks using hand-grenades and other explosive devices have been reported around protest locations in Bangkok. Since November 30, 2013, incidents associated with the protests have resulted in a number of deaths and hundreds of injuries. Further indiscriminate attacks are likely,” it said.

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