Tue, September 02, 2008
World > Asia-Pacific

Anti-gov't protesters storm Thai southern airports despite emergency decree

2008-09-02 10:21:15 GMT2008-09-02 18:21:15 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BANGKOK, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Supporters of Thailand's anti-government group People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in the south relaunched raids at several airports Tuesday despite the state of emergency Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared in Bangkok in the morning.

On Tuesday afternoon, PAD supporters blocked entrances of airport in southern province Surat Thani to oppose the premier's imposing state of emergency in Bangkok.

The supporters claimed that that they would seize the runway and use it as a venue to hold anti-government protest in the province.

Airport staff, passengers and vehicles were blocked from entering and exiting the airport.

Director of Surat Thani airport Chamnong Sorn-aksorn said that security has been stepped up to prevent the protesters from seizing the runway, according to a report by Bangkok Post

In southern transportation hub Hat Yai, Songkhla province, the Hat Yai International Airport was closed Tuesday afternoon after PAD protesters' raid.

Airport officials confirmed that the services of the airport were suspended indefinitely since 1:00 p.m.(0600 GMT). All flights between Bangkok and Hat Yai were cancelled.

In southern resort island of Phuket, PAD supporters vowed to continue their protests, but pardoned its international airport.

Natcharong Eakpeumsap, head of the PAD protesters in Phuket, said they would not block the airport as airline service was the only and the fastest mean of transportation which could take them to join the PAD protests at the Government House compound and nearby Makkawan Rangsan Bridge in Bangkok.

The PAD would, instead, demonstrate at the city's Sapanhin Park. At noon, PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul told PAD protesters in Bangkok that their men had seized the Phuket provincial hall.

PAD supporters already stormed the Hat Yai and Phuket airports and another one in southern resort Krabi last Friday, causing temporary closure of the airports, suspension and cancellation of many flights, and left many passengers, including hundreds of foreign tourists, stranded at the airport or forced to take other transportation means to get back to their countries. The Hat Yai and Phuket airports resumed operation one day after.

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