Americans should avoid traveling to Bangkok, says the U.S. State Department, because of escalating violence in the heart of the Thai capital that left at least one person dead and more than 80 injured.
Anti-government protesters have occupied key streets for more than a month in the volatile political crisis. Parts of the city were paralyzed last week after grenade attacks killed at least one and injured more than 80 as the protesters and counter-protesters gathered in the central business district, paralyzing the area. It's not known who was responsible for the grenade attacks, but shops, hotels, banks and other businesses around Silom/ Sala Daeng were shut, as were some transit stations at the city's Skytrain and subway.
The State Department's travel alert about Thailand said: "Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to Bangkok. Those traveling outside of Bangkok in Thailand should be aware of the possibility of disturbances elsewhere and should exercise caution and good judgment."
It replaces an earlier State Department alert that simply cautioned travelers about the protests. Get the full text at the State Department's website, www.travel.state.gov or phone 888-407-4747.Other countries, including Britain, also have urged their citizens to avoid traveling to Bangkok.
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But Britain's Foreign Office noted that Bangkok's major airport, Suvarnabhumi, was operating normally and that its "don't travel" advice did not apply to those in transit through Bangkok to other parts of Thailand or Asia. See www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/.
Both U.S. and British authorities stressed the situation can change daily, and travelers should monitor their travel-advice websites plus media reports.