Protestors lift siege of Bangkok airports (Second lead)December 2nd, 2008 - 9:27 pm ICT by IANS
Bangkok, Dec 2 (DPA) Anti-government protestors Tuesday agreed to lift their week-long occupation of Bangkok’s two airports after a Thai court effectively removed the ruling government, achieving their objective of toppling the administration.The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) said in a statement that they would evaluate both Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Wednesday.
But they added that they would return the airports unless two conditions were meet.
“The next government must sincerely agree to introduce new politics and must not be a puppet regime for Thaksin Shinawatra,” said the PAD statement.
The PAD, a loose coalition of groups untied in their opposition to the return to power of Thaksin and his cronies, raided Suvarnabhumi Nov 25 and Don Mueang Nov 28, effectively cutting the capital off from all air traffic.
The moves on the airports were described as the movement’s “last battle” to bring down the government of Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who is Thaksin’s brother-in-law.
The PAD decided to leave the airport shortly after Thailand’s Constitution Court dissolved the ruling People Power Party and two of its coalition partners on charges of vote-buying during the Dec 23, 2007, polls.
The verdict was deemed a victory for the PAD which has been seeking the overthrow of the government for the past six months, in demonstrations that culminated last week with the seizure of Bangkok’s two international class airports.
The closure has caused the country incalculable damage to its tourism and export industries.
Air cargo alone has suffered 86 million dollars in losses daily and the country’s tourism sector has lost incalculable millions in lost opportunities.
Experts said it would take some time before the airport would start operating agains.
Bangkok newspaper The Nation quoted airport officials on its website as saying passenger flights would resume December 15 at the earliest, but this could not be confirmed officially.