At least not now in Bangkok. Evidently protesters in red shirts, fueled (however unofficially) by ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (whose nephew I taught in kindergarten), have begun to be forcibly suppressed. The rioters have been blockading streets, storming government buildings, and generally creating a war zone in downtown Bangkok. The Army used tear gas and rubber bullets to subdue the crowd, but some of the protesters had assault rifles and Molotov cocktails. Expats living in Bangkok have been told to be careful where they go downtown, and those who had planned on traveling to Thailand have been advised to change their plans.
This is a continuation of a problem from 2006, when then-prime minister Thaksin was ousted during a coup after he tried and succeeded (multiple times) to buy the election. At that time, martial law was instituted for a short while, and the King told people basically to stop fooling around or he would not allow the elections to continue.
Unfortunately, Thaksin doesn’t appreciate not being in power anymore, and he has funded protests. Now that rioters have been running rampant in the streets for several days, Thaksin is trying to make big promises so they will put him back in power. He even called for a revolution at one point.
I’m glad I’m not in Bangkok right now, but I feel sad for my friends who are afraid there, who can’t be guaranteed a fair government, even with a King they love very much. I wish people would just do what Jesus said, and then things like this wouldn’t happen.
Edited to add: Here’s an update on the latest violence. It doesn’t look to be calming, but rather escalating as time goes on. More people are getting killed, and the blockade is expanding closer to our old stomping grounds.
Edited a second time: The Red Shirts have torched 27 buildings in Bangkok, including the Central World Plaza shopping center (and the area around Siam Paragon), mostly concentrating on government buildings and banks. Some say that the government allowed the situation to escalate to this level, since they didn’t move decisively to stop the rioters in the beginning.