Thai protestors to lift siege of Government House

December 1st, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Dec 1 (DPA) Anti-government protestors in Thailand decided Monday to end their three-month occupation of the prime minister’s office, but remained in place at Bangkok’s two airports which they have shut down for almost a week.People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader Chamlomg Srimuang urged supporters still at Government House to move out and join others at Suvarnabhumi International Airport and Don Mueang Airport.

The PAD occupied Government House Aug 26, depriving the prime minister and cabinet of their offices.

The decision to vacate the Government House grounds came after several grenade attacks on the compound in recent weeks which killed one PAD member and injured scores of others.

The last attack, over the weekend, injured 46 people.

Anger against the PAD - a loose coalition of groups dedicated to toppling the government because of its links to fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra - has mounted since it took control of Suvarnabhumi airport Nov 25.

The protesters closed down the $4-billion facility, and two days later also occupied Bangkok’s former international airport Don Mueang, completely cutting the capital off from air traffic.

The airport seizures were part of the PAD’s strategy to bring the government to its knees.

Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat Thursday put the two airports under emergency law and ordered the police to clear the facilities of the PAD. But police failed to act over the weekend, apparently fearful of public criticism if things turned bloody, and and aware that Somchai’s government may soon be disbanded.

The PAD has enjoyed strong backing from Bangkok’s middle class and members of the country’s political elite, including the army.

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