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Bangkok Crisis

PAD protestors damaging Thailand’s tourism

eTurboNews and wires  Nov 26, 2008

Bangkok’s international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, has been shut down temporarily after a mob of People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) anti-government protesters jammed the entry to the passenger terminal Tuesday night.

According to published reports, the Thai capital’s airport is effectively closed to all passengers and that Thai Airways International already has cancelled 24 flights due to leave on Wednesday.

Olarn Chaipravat, the deputy prime minister overseeing economic policy, told the Bangkok Post: "They [PAD] have the right to protest, but they must consider the rights of others. And they should also consider the damage caused to the entire country.”

In an email to eTurboNews, Tourism Authority of Thailand information officer Anuj Singhal confirmed that “as of 10:00 am Wednesday, all outbound flights from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan Province serving Bangkok has been suspended. Inbound flights into Bangkok may be diverted to Don Muang Airport or Utapao Airport on the east coast for passenger convenience.”

Images of angry tourists stranded in an airport terminal besieged by demonstrators were flashed in television screens around the world. The fresh blow to Thai tourism comes after airline and tourism executives had warned that the political tensions would deal another heavy blow to the ailing industry and the country's international image, the Bangkok Post reported.

Meanwhile, there are confusing reports about numerous bombs being thrown at protesters. At least four rounds of bomb attacks rocked Bangkok early Wednesday, injuring at least 12 people, the Nation newspaper reported.

A bomb was thrown at a group of its supporters outside the terminal in the early hours of Wednesday, according to reports citing a PAD spokesman. However, police could not confirm this but the Nation said on its website the explosion sounds frightened the protesters as police vehicles rushed to the scene. The protesters feared that police would come to violently disperse them, but their leaders managed to calm them down minutes later, the Nation reported.

PAD protesters have been relentless in their efforts to depose the newly and democratically elected administration. Even as reports of bombings and deaths surfaced, the anti-government group still managed to issue a stern warning: that they will remain at the airport until Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat steps down. They have accused the prime minister of being a proxy of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatrain.

PAD protestors damaging Thailand’s tourism
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