The Nation



US warns American tourists to avoid protest sites

The US Department of State yesterday warned citizens to avoid protest sites and large gatherings in the capital and other provinces.

In its latest travel alert yesterday, the State Department said that travel to Thailand, especially Bangkok, could be risky owing to the ongoing political and social unrest ahead of the February 2 election.

The advisory said the situation was unpredictable and that the demonstrations are 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. Though many protest activities have been peaceful, increasingly violent incidents have occurred at or near protest sites."

The travel advisory stands in place until February 14, the 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."

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