Political upheaval adds to woes of Pattaya businesses

Always smiling, girls working at the massage parlors say they are already struggling to keep their heads above water, and then to be hit again by demonstrations which could force their customers to stay home.

Already beset with recession and a continuing dearth of foreign tourists, Pattaya business owners now are staring down the prospect of renewed political uprising as local youths join their Bangkok counterparts in demonstrating for government reform.

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A large group of young pro-democracy protestors gathered on Beach at Soi 9 after a smaller group tried to rally at Bali Hai Pier Saturday.

Bar owner Kotchaporn Kongsawad said Pattaya businesses are going through one crisis after another and the last thing they need are political demonstrations to kill off what little they are getting.

Protestors shouted for the government to resign, the constitution to be amended and people given “true” democracy. Having been turned away legally by police at Bali Hai, organizers called off the event by 8 p.m. and vowed to return to Bali Hai Pier the next day.

Bar owner Kotchaporn Kongsawad said she doesn’t want to see political problems piled on top of her current woes. She went from earning about 10,000 baht a day in revenue to a few hundred. She has sold all the gold in her savings to survive and keep her employees working.

She said she would like to see Thailand recover first before trying to create political upheaval.

Pattaya was hit by demonstrations like this on Saturday, with threats of another rally on Sunday. It has become a worry for local business.