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US State Department warns Americans to avoid protest sites

The US Department of State Monday warned US citizens to avoid protest sites and large gatherings in Bangkok and other provinces.

In its latest travel alert issued on Monday, the State Department said there are potential risks of travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest ahead of the February 2 election.

It said the situation is unpredictable and ongoing demonstration activity, primarily in the greater Bangkok area and occasionally elsewhere in Thailand, is expected to continue.

"US citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Some protest sites are located near tourist attractions and popular shopping malls, which at times have closed or shortened hours unexpectedly," the travel alert said.

"Protests may occur in other areas with little or no prior notice. You should allow extra time when travelling throughout the city or to/from airports. Consider using public transportation. Although many protest activities have been peaceful, increasingly violent incidents have occurred at or near protest sites."

The Travel Alert expires on February 14, 2014, the State department said.

"US citizens are cautioned that even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid protest sites, demonstrations, and large gatherings. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports," the announcement added.


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