PHUKET: Protesters are planning to move to occupy Phuket Provincial Hall today as Thailand's anti-government movement surges into the nation's provinces.
Protesters in Bangkok have already occupied or surrounded a number of ministries in an effort to strangle the rule of Yingluck Shinawatra into submission.
Today marks a new phase as the protest in Thailand's capital ripples into the countyside.
Travel advisories to Thailand's tourists are likely to also become more serious if the protests spread for the first time to Phuket, Pattaya, Samui and other holiday destinations.
Phuket has always been a stronghold of opposition to Yingluck Shinawatra's brother, Thaksin, who is definitely reviled not revered throughout Thailand's south.
Only token resistance is likely to any move to occupy Phuket's administrative headquarters, as has been the case in Bangkok.
Last night the provincial HQ in Trang province, further south of Phuket, was taken over peacefully. News that Phuket would also face invasions came via social networks today.
A man named Surthin Lien-Udom is said to have become the new Phuket leader with the usual figureheads in Bangkok where the Yingluck government is likely to cede to pressure in the streets at any moment.
There appears no way out for the government amid an upsurge in opposition to Thaksin Shinawatra, who has virtually run Thailand from Dubai and Hong Kong since he fled a corruption court judgement in 2008.
An obvious move to pass an amnesty bill that would have allowed him to return is what triggered the present crisis, and what drove many of his one-time supporters to join the opposition.
The dispute has blurred the usual ''red'' and ''yellow'' divide and given Thaksin little chance now of recovering his populist power.
Former Phuket People's Alliance for Democracy leader Aparat Chutikanjon told Phuketwan
yesterday that about 500 people from Phuket were in Bangkok for the continuing protests.
Most of the Phuket demonstrators are middle-aged and peaceful types. However, there is always the danger of sudden, unexpected violence, as occurred in the Bangkok protests of 2010 when 90 people were killed.
Twenty-three nations have issued advisories about travel in Thailand and the spreading of protests is likely to bring more warnings.
Although protesters occupied Phuket and Bangkok airports in 2008 in the previous upheaval to depose Thaksin, such a move in 2013 is considered to be out of the question.
Canadian citizens registered with the Bangkok Embassy were told yesterday by email to ''please note that the Thai Government has expanded the Internal Security Act to include all of Bangkok Capital district, Nonthaburi, Lad Lum Kaew in Pathum Thani and Bang Phli in Samut Prakan (where Suvarnabhumi International Airport is located).
''Please share the following important information with other Canadian citizens in your area.
''Protest at a number of government ministries and offices are expected to continue.
''Canadians should remain vigilant at all times, avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
''We recommend, if possible, that Canadians get in touch with their emergency contacts in Canada to confirm their whereabouts and wellbeing, even if they have not been affected by this event.
''We encourage you to stay connected to the latest travel advice and advisories, and can find our emergency contact information at travel.gc.ca, also available via our mobile Travel smart application (www.travel.gc.ca/mobile) or by subscribing to RSS feeds (www.travel.gc.ca/rss). You can also follow us on Twitter at @TravelGoC or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/travelGoC.
''Canadian citizens requiring emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Bangkok at 02-646-4300 or Bangkokfirstname.lastname@example.org
''For emergency assistance after hours you may communicate with the Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa by calling the Embassy and following the instructions. You may also reach the EWRC directly by dialing (collect call where available), +1-613-996-8885 or by email at email@example.com
''Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada''