Bangkok Protests & Coup d'état December 14th, 2013

The Latest, A Minor Update

The protests on the streets of Bangkok aren’t dominating news headlines as they were a week ago. The speakers on stage at the main protests are much less melodramatic, the newspaper headlines are no longer sensational and the accompanying photos no longer emotive or powerful. Does this mean that the protests are over? In a word, no.

The protests continue at the main protest site at Democracy Monument as well as a mile or so up the road outside Government House. To the untrained eye it seems that protester numbers are dwindling and there is a feeling, ever so slight as it may be, that some protesters may be losing interest, no longer willing to brave the heat, or are perhaps even running out of puff.

This past Monday saw a mass protest with official estimates at around 150,000 or so. The streets of Bangkok were brought to a standstill as protesters marched to Government House from meeting points all over Bangkok, marching along roads and causing traffic chaos. By the next day it was back to normal and the hardcore, long-term protesters who are camped out in the area.

What happens next is anyone’s guess. There are a zillion permutations and no-one can say with any certainty which way things will go. We can simply monitor the mainstream news media and keep abreast of the latest happenings.

There has been quite an effect on the tourism industry with visitors scared away. Reports in the mainstream media say that visitor numbers are down about 20%. On Sukhumvit Road and in and around downtown Bangkok the number of visitors is very noticeably down. While the weather is cool and the sky is blue – it being the most pleasant time of year weather-wise – in other ways it feels more like the depths of the low season.

I reiterate what I have been saying all along, that there is very little to be concerned about in Bangkok and there is no reason to cancel your trip. Those who have cancelled seem to be concerned that something will happen at the airport as happened in 2008, worried that they might get stuck and have to stay in Thailand longer than planned. There is no reason to think this will happen again. Come to Bangkok and have a great holiday!