Foreign embassies in Thailand issue security warning ahead of court ruling

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05.29.07,
3:29 AM ET

BANGKOK (XFN-ASIA) – Foreigners in Bangkok were warned by their
embassies to exercise caution amid mounting security fears ahead of a
court decision over whether to dissolve Thailand’s two largest
political parties.

Australia, Canada, France and Japan all advised their citizens to show
a high degree of personal security awareness as tomorrow’s verdict
could trigger violent demonstrations in the Thai capital.

‘You
should avoid demonstrations, political rallies and concentrations of
military personnel,’ the Australian embassy said in a statement.

The Japanese embassy called on its citizens to ‘stay away from expected
political rallies’ and ‘act very cautiously so as not to get involved
in possible unrest and terror attacks.’

Some 900 police will be
deployed on Bangkok’s streets tonight, protecting the Constitutional
Tribunal offices and setting up checkpoints to deter party supporters
from traveling to the capital from the provinces.

Some 15,000 Thai troops are now on alert across the country to deter possible violence, officials said.

The Canadian embassy warned that planned protests might turn violent
and urged its citizens to ‘maintain high level of personal security
awareness’ and avoid ‘unnecessary travel’ in Bangkok.

The US
embassy here has left its travel advice unchanged, urging tourists and
expatriates to monitor events and avoid large public gatherings.

The British embassy’s travel advice, which was updated on Wednesday
last week, also urged its citizens to avoid demonstrations and large
crowds.

Tomorrow, Thailand’s Constitutional Tribunal must decide
whether Thai Rak Thai, the party formed by ousted prime minister
Thaksin Shinawatra, and the Democrat Party are guilty of a slew of
charges of electoral fraud related to annulled elections in April last
year.

The tribunal has the power to dissolve the parties and ban their executives from politics for five years.

afp/net

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