Thai soldiers in Bangkok
Israel news photo: Wikimedia Commons
The Foreign Ministry has warned Israelis not to travel to strife-torn Thailand, where at least 24 people have died and approximately 200 wounded in rebellion battles. Israelis who already are in Thailand have been advised to remain indoors. Most of the rioting has been confined to specific areas, and no Israelis are believed to be in immediate danger. According to Israel's radio reports, contact has been made with some Israelis in Thailand who say they are not going to try to leave at this point.
A large part of downtown Bangkok was a "live fire" zone, and government troops shot hundreds of bullets at Red Shirt protesters, who were armed with homemade bombs and rockets. The Israeli Foreign Minister said the violence is escalating, but that the Israeli Embassy will remain open as usual. More than a dozen other embassies have evacuated their staff.
"The government must move forward. We cannot retreat because we are doing things that will benefit the entire country,” Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on national television.
The Thai government, which took over in a 2006 coup, has faced protests and riots for the past four years, but the current violence is the worst in a decade, according to the Associated Press. The government has been accused of ignoring poverty and of supporting the country’s elite.