Expressing “concern” over the “ongoing developments in Thailand,” Singapore has issued a travel advisory. Singaporeans are among the high-profile travellers to Thailand.

“If Singaporeans do not have a pressing need to travel to Bangkok and the other areas where a state of emergency has been declared, they are advised to postpone the travel to a later date,” the City-State said.

For those visiting on essential work, it advised that they “should be on personal alert and monitor the news closely”. They should “avoid areas where there is a risk of disturbance”.

Open defiance

In Bangkok, tens of thousands of Thailand's anti-government protesters continued to camp in the commercial centre on Thursday, in what was widely seen as an open defiance of the emergency decree. The order was promulgated on Wednesday following a brief gate-crash by the protesters at the Parliament premises. Some officials and Ministers were quickly evacuated, some by helicopter.

The military and security agencies, empowered to end the siege by force, did not make any conspicuous move until dusk on Thursday.

Leading the protest for the fourth straight week, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) has organised picketing near the office of an infantry brigade and resorted to some unusual act of splashing donated blood at the premises of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's office and residence besides his party headquarters. At one stage, the protesters numbered over 1,00,000 in some unofficial estimates. And, the UDD has occupied Bangkok's commercial district for the past several days.

Mr. Abhisit, who has rejected the UDD's demand that he dissolve the House of Representatives and hold a snap general election, decided on Thursday to cancel his planned visit to Hanoi for a regional summit there. He would not also attend the United States-sponsored Nuclear Security Summit in Washington next week, it was said.

The UDD is encouraged by the military-deposed and now-fugitive Thai leader, Thaksin Shinawatra, from his bases in self-exile. And, Mr. Abhisit's critics at home and abroad see him as a proxy of the Thai military.

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