Thursday, 4 August 2016

8/04/2016 05:12:00 pm
Foreigners cautioned about potential unrest and told to follow Thai laws.

FOREIGN COUNTRIES have warned their citizens in Thailand to stay safe given possible political tensions in the run-up to Sunday's referendum on the charter draft.

Embassies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Finland and Denmark have issued messages warning their citizens to be vigilant, to avoid large gatherings and to observe Thai |laws.

The warnings are based on perceptions of possible political unrest on Sunday.

The US Embassy emphasised the junta's suppression of public expression and possibly a heightened military presence during the referendum.

It said the junta had banned mass political gatherings and placed restrictions on media, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

"Individuals, including foreigners, may be detained for publicly criticising the National Council for Peace and Order or the monarchy," it said in a security message on its website yesterday. "Security forces have additional powers, including the right to control movement and search for weapons."

It also recommended that its citizens should follow news and enrol in the Department of State's Smart Traveller Enrolment Programme, and it provided contacts at the embassy and the US Consulate in Chiang Mai.

'Illegal to criticise'
The British and Finnish embassies, like the US mission, warned their citizens about limited freedom of political expression and assembly.

"It's illegal to criticise the coup and you should be wary of making political statements in public," said the British Embassy in advice published since last week.

The Canadian Embassy, while not issuing its own message, shared a travel advice from the Canadian government via its Facebook page, warning people in Thailand of possible demonstrations.

"There is an increased military presence throughout the country, and public gatherings of more than five people are prohibited," said the travel advice, adding that current laws allow the junta to retain and exercise sweeping power at any time.

The Danish Embassy also warned its citizens of the Election Commission's restrictions on the serving and sale of alcoholic drinks from 6pm on Saturday to midnight on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Embassy warned its nationals in Thailand to be on alert for increased raids and surprise checks by Thai authorities.

According to The Irrawaddy website, the interventions are part of security clampdowns ahead of voting day.

Myanmar people in Thailand have been advised always to carry required immigration documents with them and to submit calmly to inspections by Thai police.

As of press time, Government House did not make any comment on the warnings, saying it was consulting with the Foreign Ministry on how to react.

AND: No Alcohol on August 6th, 18:00 till 7th, 24:00, 2016

Thailand's constitutional referendum will incur a nationwide alcohol ban.
Shops, restaurants and all kinds of entertainment venues are banned from selling alcohol.

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