(26 November) The Minister of Foreign Affairs said he has submitted letters to various foreign governments, reassuring them that the anti-government protests are not legitimate democratic movements against the government.
Mr. Surapong Tovijakchaikul, who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister, told reporters among the recipients of the letters are the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the UN Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva, and members of the United Nations Security Council such as the United States, Russia, and Britain.
The letter explains that the ongoing campaign to overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is an illegal and disruptive conspiracy hatched by factions hostile to democratic regime in the country. The letter also reportedly cites the incidents of anti-government protesters occupying important governmental buildings and asked every nation in the world to condemn the movements, according to Mr. Surapong.
Led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, the protesters have seized yesterday the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a part of their campaign to pressure the government in resigning. Today, the protesters have additionally seized the compound of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.
Mr. Surapong said he was meeting with foreign dignitaries at a conference in Bahrain when the news broke that his office has been taken over by the protesters. "Naturally, representatives of many nations have inquired me about the situation in Thailand, " Mr. Surapong said, "I have told them that the protest is illegal, because it has been escalated into a threat to national security, and it is not in accordance with democracy".
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that 23 nations have issued warnings to their citizens about their travels to Thailand, following the turbulent days of protests and the Thai government′s decision to impose the Internal Security Act (ISA) over the entire city of Bangkok.
The 23 nations are the US, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Slovakia, Israel, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore, the statement reads.
The extension of the ISA was announced on a live televised broadcast by Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra. Originally imposed only in the governmental district in Bangkok to prevent the protesters from reaching the compound of Government House and House of Parliament, the law was extended to cover not only entire Bangkok but also its neighbouring province of Nonthaburi, while the district of Bang Phli in Samut Prakarn province and the district of Lad Lumkaew woudl also be affected.
One of Bangkok′s two airports is located in Bang Phli; the decision to include the district hints at the officials? fear that the anti-government protesters might end up repeating the tactics they had employed in 2008, when they occupied Don Mueang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport, dealing devastating blows to the country′s export and tourism sectors.
Nonthaburi′s Lad Lumkaew is also home to the Redshirts-operated Thai Khom TV station, which the government obviously feared might become an easy target of the anti-government protesters.
In her announce, Ms. Yingluck insists that the invocation of ISA will provide safety and security to the people.
The Prime Minister also voiced her concern regarding the occupation of the Ministry of Finance, in which the protesters severed off water supplies and electricity power to the Ministry′s main buildings, stating that the incident presents threats to people’s lives and properties.
However, she stressed that there will be no use of force against the demonstrators and that the government is willing to listen to all side regardless of their political colours to retain peace and the unity of Thai people. She also vowed that the government will transparently enforce the rule of law in the hope to defuse the situation in timely manner.
Ms. Yingluck also used the broadcast to send her regards to the anti-government groups, stating that they should use parliamentary procedures to voice their political discourses and embrace the rule of laws within the system of democracy under a constitutional monarchy.
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]
You can also find Khaosod English on Twitter and Facebook