Thai Demonstrators Leave Airports
BANGKOK, Thailand–Anti-government demonstrators packed up and left Bangkok’s airports after their Prime Minister was forced from power by the country’s highest court.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy movement (PAD) officially handed back control of the airport Wednesday, after a crippling siege, as authorities assured angry tourists that flights would resume within 24 hours.
Protesters who during the last week caused two Thai airports to shut down, celebrated Somchai Wongsawat’s resignation, singing and waving the country’s red, white and blue flag as they promised to end their occupation of the facilities.
“We are extremely happy that the puppet of Thaksin Shinawatra has fallen,” a senior PAD member, Chok-chuang Chutinaton, told The Times. “But if the caretaker government is made of former government members, we absolutely will reject it.”
The movement’s co-founder, Chamlong Srimuang, hugged and shook hands with the chief of the airport authority at Suvarnabhumi before bowing down in front of a portrait of Thailand’s much-revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The first commercial airliner to arrive in a week — a flight by Thai Airways from the resort island of Phuket — landed at Suvarnabhumi international airport at 2.15 p.m. (0715 GMT).
Thai Airways said its flights will also take off from Suvarnabhumi for Sydney, New Delhi, Tokyo, Frankfurt, Seoul and Copenhagen on Wednesday.
Although air travel may now begin returning to normal, no one in Thailand believes that the political battle is over.
Photos: AP and LA Times