Thais grieve with Parisians and step up security
Thailand’s constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej and the country’s political leaders sent condolence messages to France following the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, as Thais and foreigners alike gathered in Bangkok to express sorrow, solidarity and support for the people of France.
“The Queen and I have learned with deepest sorrow of the savage terrorist attacks in Paris which caused the loss of so many innocent lives and grave injuries to so many victims,” King Bhumibol wrote in a letter to French President Francois Hollande.
“We sincerely extend our profound sympathy and heartfelt condolences to Your Excellency, the French people and particularly the bereaved families for their great and irreplaceable loss from this horrific tragedy,” the King wrote.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also sent messages of condolence to President Hollande and the French people, and reiterated that the threat of further terrorist attacks would not deter him from attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris from November 20 through December 11. It was important to show support for the French people, he said, and important for the world to achieve results regarding climate change.
In response to the attacks in Paris, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon ordered security stepped up as the Kingdom prepares for several holidays this month and in December. Officials were increasing their tracking of regional terror groups to prevent any possible incidents in the Kingdom.
Security analysts agreed, however, that Islamic State (ISIS) does not appear to have made any inroads or established a presence in Thailand. Photographs were circulated last week of Muslim rebels in another country in the region brandishing ISIS flags and claiming allegiance to the Middle Eastern terror group. But there has been no evidence that Muslim rebels in Thailand’s Deep South have any links to ISIS or other foreign jihadist groups.
In Bangkok, groups of Thais and foreigners gathered at the French Embassy and the Alliance Française in demonstrations of sympathy and camaraderie following the news of the tragedy in Paris. At the French Embassy, prominent clergy from the five major religious groups in Thailand – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikh – led those who gathered there in prayers.
“The best answer we can give to intolerance, is tolerance. And feeling no fear,” said Imam Thanarat Watcharatisud.
“French people will always have my support, especially during this difficult time,” said Dusdi Banomyong who spent decades living in France. “I truly feel sad for the victims and their family members.”
In addition, Thailand’s three major mobile telephone companies announced that their customers could make free international calls to and from France during the weekend.