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LATEST: Suvarnabhumi Airport Chaos
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    LATEST: Suvarnabhumi Airport Chaos

    PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    (BangkokPost.com) - The anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Tuesday evening announced that it will attempt to close down Suvarnabhumi airport in an attempt to topple the government.

    At 9pm, the airport was ordered to shut down its operation temporarily as the PAD demonstrators broke into the compound.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    Anti-govt protesters block road to Suvarnabhumi airport

    BANGKOK, Nov 25 (TNA) - The second day of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD)'s latest protests turned violent as thousands of protesters blocked the entrance to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport in preparations for a protest of the returning home of Thai Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat after a shooting with government supporters earlier on Tuesday.

    Confusion and other obstacles faced both arriving and departing passengers as the protesters blocked the entrance to the airport from the motorway, virtually paralysing traffic in the area. Such action prompted airline passengers and cabin crew to walk, lugging their suitcases to the terminal.

    PAD protesters were expected to spend the night as Mr. Somchai's plane has been delayed and would not arrive until Wednesday night.

    The flight, which Mr. Somchai is on, will land at another airport outside Bangkok instead of Suvarnabhumi to avoid confrontation with protesters, according to Nattawut Saikua, government spokesman.

    Mr. Somchai had attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima, Peru, and is flying from there for home.

    Serirat Prasutanont, acting director of Suvarnabhumi airport and acting president of Airports of Thailand (AoT), said officials had urged the protesters to gather peacefully and allow passengers to enter and leave the airport without inconvenience.

    He said the protesters were requested to gather at the airport's parking lot, but no response from the PAD protesters has been made so far.

    In the late aftrenoon, police said PAD protesters opened fire and shot on government supporters on Bangkok's Vibhavadee Road leading to the government's temporary headquarters. The police said at least five people were wounded, and several motorcycles torched in the attack.

    The violence occurred on a road leading to the government's temporary headquarters at Don Mueang airport where protesters laid siege for the second day. (TNA)

    Latest pictures at www.thaiphotoblogs.com/

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    What a wonderful welcome for visitors to the Kingdom-PAD fighting with taxi drivers and trying to take control of the airport.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    And at Don Muang airport, the THAI Airways staff opening the gates to let them in. So much for security. If an outsider takes advantage of this situation and blows up a plane, who will take responsiblity for lax of security?

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    'LAST BATTLE'
    PAD closes Suvarnabhumi

    The Suvarnabhumi Airport has been ordered closed after PAD protesters seized key entrance and other areas.

    The Airports of Thailand has decided to close the Suvarnabhumi airport after PAD protesters entered passenger terminals.

    Now, there will not be out-bound flights. In-bound planes are being allowed to land for now, but can be diverted to key provincial airports if situations deteriorated.

    The order was issued by AOT chief Serirat Prasutanont. He made the decision after PAD protesters penetrated some passenger areas.

    The People's Alliance for Democracy threatened earlier Tuesday night to close down the Suvanabhumi Airport completely after several thousand PAD protesteers blocked an entrance earlier in the day and caused turmoil for numerous passengers.

    As PAD protesters moved to surround Suvarnabhumi Airport where the plane carrying Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was scheduled to land, the arrival of his plane from Peru was reportedly delayed due to technical problems.

    The estimated time of arrival has not been confirmed. Some sources said he could be arriving Wednesday evening.

    "We have tried to pressure the gov¬ernment for more than 50 hours but nothing has happened, so we need to step up our campaign by closing the airport to tell the world problems Thailand is facing," said PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul at Government House Tuesday night.

    Before the closure order, the Airports of Thailand was Tuesday night mobilizing its officials to Suvarnabhumi to make sure no key operations will be disrupted. Travellers still can access the terminals through Bang Na -Trad highway, but the motory-way entrance has been crowded with protesters.

    Many travellers have already suffered inconvenience. AOT has also issued a statement pleading with the PAD.

    Somchai's plane failed to take off from Lima, Peru where he attended the APEC summit after the hydraulic lock of the plane's wheels failed to unlock.

    The technical repair was first expected to make Somchai's flight eight hours behind the schedule, making Somchai's arrival time to be around 7 pm.

    It was later reported that the repair work would be finished sooner so Somchai would arrive at 5pm.

    Somchai was scheduled to arrive in Bangkok at around noon on Wednesday. He is now expected to arrive at 7pm instead.

    The Public Relations Department said its reporter, Saksit Pradabsilp, reported from Peru that a hydraulic lock of the plane's wheel would not unlock, thus, preventing the plane from taking off.

    While PAD Tuesday split in groups and stage a rally to block a Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, as caretaker prime minister, still man¬aged to have a meeting with Interior Minister Kowit Watana and PM's Office Minister Supon Fongngam at the Public Relations Department headquarters at 9.30 am.

    Police and military representatives also attend¬ed the meeting.

    Chaovarat said after the meeting that the police had assured they could handle the situation. They would be patient and would not use violence.

    Moreover, they would ask PAD to vacate the government's temporary office at Don Mueang Airport but would not "seize/ take back" the office, otherwise, bloodshed could erupt.

    Chaovarat said he would leave it to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to talk to the PAD leaders himself.

    They were looking for a new place to hold the Cabinet meeting when the PAD blocked the Supreme Command headquarters, he said.

    Meanwhile, a source who joined the meeting and asked not to be named, said police had told Chaovarat they would be able to control the situation as PAD protesters mainly demonstrated at Government House and Don Mueang Airport. Being left to rally as they wanted, demonstrators are likely to be exhausted on Wednesday with half of them likely to leave the rally.

    Security agencies would then wait until only a few protesters were left before taking action, the source said.

    Somchai's delayed arrival could be the reason for the cancellation of the scheduled Cabinet meeting, the source said.

    Culture Minister Worawat Uaapinyakul said PAD should care more about the country and stop besieging government agencies' offices as it would hurt the country. PAD's attempt was just power struggle, he said.

    "The (PAD's) behaviours are like bandits'. They are unacceptable. Why don't they respect democracy or listen to people's voice? Investors are with¬drawing nowadays as they don't know what is happening in Thailand," Worawat said.

    The government has been forced not to use its power, Worawat said. However, it would continue working according to the democratic system. However, it would have to discuss where its office would be.

    He said the Cabinet would be able to use many other places as its office. However, the military should protect its dignity by not allowing PAD to siege government offices.

    Worawat said he would propose to Somchai to set up an office in Chiangmai as the people there would welcome the government.

    A government source, who asked not to be named, said the Secretariat of the Prime Minister had not prepared any office to replace the Don Mueang Airport as it needed to discuss the issue with the premier first.

    The source said it was time the prime minister exercised the law against the PAD. Otherwise, PAD would lay siege to any government offices.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    > Worawat said he would propose to Somchai to set up an office in Chiangmai as the people there would welcome the government.



    so far, it has been 100% peaceful around here. to me, it sounds like the perfect recipe to spread out the crisis. there are opponents everywhere, or they can reach Chiang Mai within 10 hours by busloads if someone wants them to.


    btw, when flights are so badly disrupted, who will pay for missed flights?? will airlines try to make arrangements, or will people be left stranded? insurance usually doesn't cover anything to do with protests or political unrest.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    I would not be surprised if Somchai's flight from Peru diverted to CM, Betti at the very least-as for the delay-as you say the insurance is unlikely to help-but maybe the airlines will.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    BBC says up to 10,000 people currently affected by PAD action at the airport. Airport could be blockaded for several days-this is, it should be emphasised, speculation by BBC correspondent in Bangkok Jonathan Head.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    Somchai could be calling their bluff to get rid of them from Suvarnabhumi for the sake of the country. I'm sure he could organise a helicopter out of there anyway.

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    Re: PAD shut down Suvarnabhumi

    SUVARNABHUMI CLOSURE
    THOUSANDS STRANDED

    By Chularat Saengpassa
    The Nation

    Up to 10,000 passengers are being stranded after the Suvarnabhumi Airport has been ordered closed as a result of blockade by the People's Alliance for Democracy

    The Airports of Thailand has decided to close the Suvarnabhumi airport after PAD protesters blocked an entrace, entered passenger terminals and scuffled with airport officials.

    The closure, ordered around 9 pm, involved stopping out-bound flights. In-bound planes were still being allowed to land Tuesday night, but can be diverted to key provincial airports if situations deteriorated.

    Slideshow : Chaos at Suvarnabhumi Airport

    The order was issued by AOT chief Serirat Prasutanont. He made the decision out of safety concern after PAD protesters penetrated some passenger areas.

    "The PAD members are now scattered around. I don't know who's who, or who's PAD and who's not," a senior AOT official told The Nation at around 10.30 pm.

    How long the closure will last is not known.

    THAI reported that more than 21 flights _ to Japan, India, Iran, Europe, among others _ were cancelled Tuesday night. This affected up to 6,000 travellers. Overall, up to 10,000 travellers could be affected Tuesday night alone, according to airline sources.

    The People's Alliance for Democracy threatened earlier Tuesday night to close down the Suvanabhumi Airport completely after several thousand PAD protesteers blocked an entrance earlier in the day and caused turmoil for numerous passengers.

    As PAD protesters moved to block the motorway entrance to the Suvarnabhumi Airport in the afternoon when the plane carrying Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat was scheduled to land, the arrival of his plane from Peru was announced to have been delayed due to technical problems.

    The estimated time of arrival has not been confirmed. Some sources said he could be arriving Wednesday evening.

    "We have tried to pressure the gov¬ernment for more than 50 hours but nothing has happened, so we need to step up our campaign by closing the airport to tell the world problems Thailand is facing," said PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul at Government House Tuesday night.

    Before the closure order, the Airports of Thailand was Tuesday night mobilizing its officials to Suvarnabhumi to make sure no key operations will be disrupted. Travellers still can access the terminals through Bang Na -Trad highway, but the motory-way entrance has been crowded with protesters.

    Many travellers have already suffered inconvenience. Arrival passengers were stranded Tuesday night and the AOT officials were trying to facilitate their transport out of the airport. AOT has also issued a statement pleading with the PAD.

    Hectic accommodation was being provided to some stranded departure passengers. Some of them had had to walk with their luggages for up to two kilometres due to problems at the entrance.

    AOT also has provided a hotline number for inquiries: 02-1321882 and 02-1321888. However, an AOT official said the lines soon became jammed.

    For THAI flight information, the following number 02-3561111 has been provided.


    It was a big political gamble by the PAD, which has seen its support declining lately because of controversial, provocative moves. Its die-hard following, however, has been galvanised by deaths and injuries of PAD members since October 7, when police fired tear gas at protesters marching to Parliament.

    It has been reported that Prime Minister Somchai has been in touch with his Cabinet and ordered an urgent meeting with top security officials when he arrives back in Thailand late Wednesday afternoon.

    There were rumours about him planning to invoke an internal security act that will empower the military to take drastic action to keep law and order. The AOT was also known to have asked the Army to provide assistance if problems at the airport went out of control.

    Somchai's plane failed to take off from Lima, Peru where he attended the APEC summit after the hydraulic lock of the plane's wheels failed to unlock.

    The technical repair was first expected to make Somchai's flight eight hours behind the schedule, making Somchai's arrival time to be around 7 pm.

    It was later reported that the repair work would be finished sooner so Somchai would arrive at 5pm.

    Somchai was scheduled to arrive in Bangkok at around noon on Wednesday. He is now expected to arrive at 7pm instead.

    The Public Relations Department said its reporter, Saksit Pradabsilp, reported from Peru that a hydraulic lock of the plane's wheel would not unlock, thus, preventing the plane from taking off.

    While PAD Tuesday split in groups and stage a rally to block a Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul, as caretaker prime minister, still man¬aged to have a meeting with Interior Minister Kowit Watana and PM's Office Minister Supon Fongngam at the Public Relations Department headquarters at 9.30 am.

    Police and military representatives also attended the meeting.

    Chaovarat said after the meeting that the police had assured they could handle the situation. They would be patient and would not use violence.

    Moreover, they would ask PAD to vacate the government's temporary office at Don Mueang Airport but would not "seize/ take back" the office, otherwise, bloodshed could erupt.

    Chaovarat said he would leave it to Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat to talk to the PAD leaders himself.

    They were looking for a new place to hold the Cabinet meeting when the PAD blocked the Supreme Command headquarters, he said.

    Meanwhile, a source who joined the meeting and asked not to be named, said police had told Chaovarat they would be able to control the situation as PAD protesters mainly demonstrated at Government House and Don Mueang Airport. Being left to rally as they wanted, demonstrators are likely to be exhausted on Wednesday with half of them likely to leave the rally.

    Security agencies would then wait until only a few protesters were left before taking action, the source said.

    Somchai's delayed arrival could be the reason for the cancellation of the scheduled Cabinet meeting, the source said.

    Culture Minister Worawat Uaapinyakul said PAD should care more about the country and stop besieging government agencies' offices as it would hurt the country. PAD's attempt was just power struggle, he said.

    "The (PAD's) behaviours are like bandits'. They are unacceptable. Why don't they respect democracy or listen to people's voice? Investors are with¬drawing nowadays as they don't know what is happening in Thailand," Worawat said.

    The government has been forced not to use its power, Worawat said. However, it would continue working according to the democratic system. However, it would have to discuss where its office would be.

    He said the Cabinet would be able to use many other places as its office. However, the military should protect its dignity by not allowing PAD to siege government offices.

    Worawat said he would propose to Somchai to set up an office in Chiangmai as the people there would welcome the government.

    A government source, who asked not to be named, said the Secretariat of the Prime Minister had not prepared any office to replace the Don Mueang Airport as it needed to discuss the issue with the premier first.

    The source said it was time the prime minister exercised the law against the PAD. Otherwise, PAD would lay siege to any government offices.

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