Second Bangkok airport closed, protests continue

Friday, November 28, 2008

Following on from Tuesday night's invasion of Bangkok's new international airport, Suvarnabhumi, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has now taken over the Thai capital's old Don Mueang International Airport, forcing the Thai authorities to shut it down. The expansion of the protest at Don Mueang is reported to be a move to prevent cabinet ministers flying to Chiang Mai for a meeting with the Prime Minister, Somchai Wongsawat.

The closure of the Don Mueang airport saw 3,000 PAD supporters gathered outside Don Mueang airport, although there were no passengers inside the terminal, as the last flight had arrived a few hours earlier. The airport operates a few domestic flights, and was the only airport left serving Bangkok after protesters swarmed the main airport earlier this week, forcing flights from there to be suspended.

"I authorised Don Mueang's director-general to close the airport from midnight. It is closed indefinitely until normalcy is restored," said the president of operator Airports of Thailand, Saererat Prasutanond, speaking in a televised address. "The two airports that serve Bangkok are completely closed."

A Thai court has ordered the demonstrators occupying the Suvarnabhumi airport to leave, but the protesters say that they will stay until the government resigns. The closures of the airports come at the height of the tourist season, and threatens the tourist industry, which is one of Thailand's largest earners.

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