As political protests spiral in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand’s tourism industry is suffering.
Some luxury hotels in the commercial center have been under virtual siege since Saturday with thousands of anti-government protesters camped out in the heart of the capital city. Upscale malls, popular with Thais and foreign tourists, have had to close, as have office buildings and bank branches. Local merchants say the demonstrations have cost them millions of dollars.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok, giving the army broad powers to restore order. The government blocked an opposition TV station and dozens of Web sites Thursday, trying to use censorship instead of violence to control the anti-government rallies.