News In Brief

State of emergency declared in Thailand

Daryl Paranada Apr 7, 2010

Thailand’s prime minister has declared a state of emergency after “red-shirt” protesters broke into the parliament building, sending government officials running. The move comes after weeks of demonstrations. Protesters argue that the ruling Thai government came to power illegitimately, and want parliament to dissolve and a new election to be held. The special security laws give the Thai army greater powers to suppress protests and restore order.

The protests are undoubtedly hurting tourism in Thailand. Several nations have issued safety alerts for travelers to the Asian nation. But some believe the country will bounce back. After protests in the Southeast Asian nation last April, Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reported on how its tourism industry — which employs around 2 million people — might cope.

From Southeast Asian expert Rosiland Morris:

“Thailand is probably the most efficient country in the world at managing its image.”

Meanwhile, U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley rebuked the protesters.

“We respect the right of freedom of expression,” he said, but “forcibly entering government buildings is not an appropriate means of protest.”

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