DFA raises alert level 2 in Thailand amid martial law

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

MANILA -- The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) raised the alert level for Thailand from 1 to 2 following the declared martial law in the country Tuesday.

Alert level 2 is issued "when there are real threats to the life, security and property of Filipinos arising from internal disturbance in or external threat to the host country."

Under level 2, the Department of Labor and Employment will only allow Filipino workers with existing contracts to return to Thailand.

The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok is also advising Filipinos residing in or traveling to Thailand to avoid rally sites and to refrain from taking part in protests.

It said Filipinos are advised to be vigilant at all times.

On Tuesday, Thailand's army declared martial law to keep the country stable after six months of violent political unrest. The military, however, denied a coup d'etat was underway.

The move effectively places the army in charge of public security nationwide. It comes one day after the Southeast Asian country's caretaker prime minister refused to step down and follows six months of anti-government demonstrations that have failed to oust the government.

Thailand, an economic hub for Southeast Asia, has been gripped by off-and-on political turmoil since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by a military coup after being accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The latest round of unrest started last November, when anti-government protesters took to the streets to try to oust then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister. She had dissolved the lower house of parliament in December in a bid to ease the crisis. (Sunnex/With AP)

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