Britain eases Bangkok travel warning after protests end

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Britain on Tuesday urged its nationals to avoid "all but essential travel" to Bangkok, easing a warning made last week not to visit the Thai capital under any circumstances.

The revised advice came after the end of mass rallies by anti-government "Red Shirt" protesters, which were broken up by the army last week after paralysing central Bangkok.

The demonstrations descended into several outbreaks of violence that left 88 people dead since mid-March, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 injured.

"We are now advising against all but essential travel to Bangkok," said Britain's Foreign Office in a statement. "This replaces the previous advice (issued last Wednesday), which advised against all travel to Bangkok."

"Although the situation in Bangkok is returning to normal, it is still unpredictable," it warned.

The advice against all but essential travel does not apply to travellers transiting the airport en route to other destinations, either internationally or within Thailand, added the statement.

The Foreign Office said Britons already in the capital should respect the terms of the midnight-to-4am curfew.

Thai authorities Tuesday extended the curfew in Bangkok and 23 provinces for four nights, as they seek to restore order following weeks of protests against the administration of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Britain further warned against all but essential travel to the northern city of Chiang Mai, saying there was still a "risk of demonstrations and violence."

© 2010 AFP

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