Last week the Thai army declared a general curfew on Bangkok, after a series of violent demonstrations, and arson that occurred in at least seven districts in the country. At least three opposition members broke into the city government buildings.
After imposing the curfew, a senior official said security forces in Thailand that the army and the police would open fire on anyone caught plundering or setting a fire in Bangkok.
Many tourists fled the hotels and went the safest place: 'The Bais Chabad'. Many tourists came to Chabad Houses throughout Thailand for the Kabbolas Shabbos service. The Chabad House building in Bangkok was overflowing with tourists on Shabbos.
Staying in the Bais Chabad gave travelers a sense of security. Occasionally late at night there were echoes of explosions and gunfire. Only a week ago, the street parallel to the central Bais Chabad in Bangkok, was the scene of violence and rioting by the "reds". Only recently, the Chabad House beefed up security with a checkpoint at the entrance to the building. .
The Shabbos davening was inspiring, and there was a wonderful sense of unity. As always, Rabbi Nechemia Wilhelm greeted all the travelers with a constant smile on his face.
After the service everyone gathered in the banqueting hall for Shabbos dinner, as usual, all the guests joined in singing special Shabbos songs led by Rabbi Wilhelm, as if they were not under curfew, as if just a short while ago riots and shootings didn't take the lives of 80 people..
The Shabbos meal ended at two after midnight. "Everyone forgot about the curfew, we felt like we're at home and not in Bangkok," said the tourists. "Rabbi Nechemia promised that if a cop stops us in the street, and we tell him we are from the Chabad, we will be released immediately.
A group of Temimim recently arrived to back up the staff in the Bais Chabad, and received special permits to be outside during curfew.