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Wed 2 Apr 2014 10:13 AM

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UAE citizens advised not to travel to Thailand

Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged all Emiratis to avoid gatherings and demonstrations

UAE citizens advised not to travel to Thailand
UAE Flag (Getty Images)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has again advised UAE citizens not to travel to Thailand unless they really have to, due to the tense political situation there.

It noted that the warning comes as the Ministry is keen to ensure the safety of Emiratis abroad.

“The Ministry is closely following developments in Thailand and has assigned, in coordination with the UAE Embassy in the country, an operations room that works around the clock in order to follow citizens’ conditions there,” Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Butti Al Hamed, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying by the WAM news agency.

He also urged Emirati citizens in Thailand to avoid gatherings and demonstrations, adding they should coordinate with the UAE Embassy in Thailand on the following numbers: 006624024000, 0066871108785 and on the operations department at 0244449600 in cases of need.

He added that the Ministry is in continuous communication with the UAE Embassy in Thailand to ensure the safety of Emiratis.

Al Hamed called on all citizens to comply fully with warnings until further notice from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that citizens should be careful when travelling abroad. He added they should read instructions and travel tips on the Ministry’s website as well as register for the “My Presence” service dedicated to UAE citizens.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported gunmen opened fire on a group of Thai
anti-government protesters driving away from a Bangkok rally,
killing one, wounding four and raising tension in a political crisis that has
gripped the country for months.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible
for the violence which brought the death toll to 24, with scores wounded, since
protesters took to the streets in November in a bid to force Prime Minister
Yingluck Shinawatra from office and erase the influence of her brother, ousted
premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Yingluck has resisted mounting pressure to step
down and her "red shirt" supporters have called for a mass rally in
Bangkok on Sunday, raising the risk of further confrontation.

"We received three (of the) injured protesters
at the hospital. One succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head," an
official at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok told Reuters.

Protesters first took to the streets to oppose an
amnesty bill that critics said would have allowed for Thaksin's return from
self-exile. The bill was eventually rejected by the Senate but protests
continued and new demands emerged.

Thailand has really been in crisis since Thaksin
was ousted in a 2006 coup. The conflict broadly pits Bangkok's middle class and
conservative establishment against Yingluck and Thaksin's supporters in the
north and northeast.

Protesters disrupted a February 2 general election,
halting voting in parts of Bangkok and the south. The Constitutional Court
nullified the election last month, throwing Thailand into deeper turmoil and
leaving Yingluck in charge of a caretaker government with severely restricted

The protesters want to set up a "people's
council" of unspecified worthy people to force through political and
electoral changes before a new general election is held.

* With Reuters

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