Riots and Demonstrations in Thailand

“Vicki and I flew from Oman into Bangkok airport this morning, Sept. 3,” writes correspondent Paul Terhorst on the ground in Thailand. “I’m sending this from the airport waiting room. Our connecting flight to Chiang Mai leaves in a few minutes.

“We were concerned that our flight to Thailand might be cancelled. Rioters had promised to block airport access. Unions appear to be joining the anti-government forces. The government has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and called in the army; so far, the army has refused to act. One man has died in the riots.

“As I said, we were concerned about the airport staying open. But we’re travelers. We’re not part of the army, the rioters, or the government. We need airport and train services, which may be disrupted because of the current unrest. Then again, airport and train services can and do become disrupted for many reasons: strikes, bad weather, equipment failures, floods, and so on. The unrest here raises transport risks…but not to intolerable levels.

“So Vicki and I will resume our normal lives. Naturally, we’ll avoid government houses, demonstrations, police stations, and so on. But life on the streets remains very pleasant—even more so than usual, with fewer tourists crowding around.

“One final point: Unlike in Europe and the Western democracies, Thailand enjoys a small, ineffective government. No check in the mail, no welfare state, no half-trillion-dollar deficits. The government can self-destruct—and does so with some regularity—without anyone really noticing.

“For the most up-to-date news:

“Meantime, my advice? Come anyway.”


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