Bangkok: Tensions Increase, Hotels Shut, Red Shirts Stay Put
Civil unrest in Bangkok has ramped up tensions as five star hotels shut sending guests to other accommodations. The Red Shirts are staying put in the high end shopping and hotel district of Bangkok.
The hotels are caught in the midst of the huge protest by the Red Shirts who have occupied different areas of Bangkok since March. Tens of millions of dollars in tourist money have been lost since the beginning of the March sit ins. An effort by the military to oust them from an historic area resulted in the Red Shirts moving to and settling into the upscale area.
The situation is very tense. We are relocating guests to other hotels for their safety," said Patty Lerdwittayaskul, a spokeswoman at the 380-room Grand Hyatt Erawan, which announced on Tuesday its closure until at least Saturday.
Hotels Closed in Bangkok
- Holiday Inn
- Grand Hyatt Erawan
- Four Seasons
The upscale hotels are making every effort to accommodate their guests at other suitable hotels and are suspending bookings for the time being.
Red Shirts Currently Peaceful
The Red Shirt occupation of the shopping area in Bangkok is currently peaceful but the demonstrators are preparing for confrontation if it comes from the military. Tires and pavers have been stockpiled, bamboo staves have been gathered.
On April 10, Thailand saw its worst political violence in decades with a clash between the military resulting in 25 dead and many hundreds injured.
Thailand has been coping with civil unrest in many parts of the country for some time now. There is a separatist movement in the south, and conflicts on its northern borders. The Red Shirt movement is calling for immediate elections because they question the legitimacy of the present government.
The current government came to power after scandal rocked the previous one in which the very popular prime minister Thaksin Shinawata was sentenced to two years in prison. Currently the prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is having to answer to questions about irregularities regarding his election.