Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thailand Still Under Martial Law

So far martial law seems to be working out okay for Thailand.  There are many military check points set up around the city, but so far this has just been a show of force.  Not that you would want to challenge these guys, they are heavily armed.

Photo below is from Thai PBS, one of the news outlets in Thailand that has not been shut down.  Many others were shut down yesterday.

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There have been searches at some road checkpoints, but so far I haven't personally had any problems with my commute (1 hour + by car each way daily).  I've just been waved past checkpoints by rather bored looking soldiers.  After the initial shock to traffic Tuesday morning, traffic has actually been quite light as many people are avoiding any unnecessary travel or using public transit.

International press has been generally critical of the declaration of martial law in Thailand, but people here seem relieved.  I saw poll data today that said 75% of Thais approve of the decision to use martial law to try and de-escalate the political situation here.  The actual number might be questionable as the press is being censored, but through my personal interaction with many Thais this number seems roughly accurate.

We are optimistic at this point that the military may be able to play a neutral role in calming things down.  Last night was there first night in months where there were no bombings or shootings in the city.  It's still too early to draw any final conclusions, but this seems like a positive thing right now.

For the most part life is going on as normal.

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