Suvarnabhumi Under Seige

Airport 1 Tuesday evening a group of several thousand protesters – members of the PAD, or People’s Alliance for Democracy – set their sights on a new target: Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Bangkok’s gateway to the world.  Already during the week they had shut down the city’s domestic airport and were protesting elsewhere in the city for the Prime Minister to resign and dissolve the government.

Right: PAD members at the departures level of the airport.

But now we have a truly international mess: thousands of tourists and business people stranded, unable to arrive at or depart from the airport.  We have images of protesters acting like thugs and terrorists – a group of six or more protesters surrounded a motorcycle taxi driver, beating him and holding a knife to his throat before letting him go.

Airport 4 It is as if in their pursuit of their political goal, they are willing to drag the entire country down.

“All this will go away if the Prime Minister just resigns,” the PAD says.

Holding an entire country hostage isn’t politics; it’s blackmail.

Prediction: a year from now, Thailand’s economy will be even further in the dumps after foreign investors have decided that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Tourism will have shriveled another twenty percent or more.  Suddenly Malaysia is looking like a better choice for a tropical holiday.

Food for thought: the PAD is largely composed of members of the upper- and middle classes.  Groups that are more insulated from the effects of their seige of the airport.  Pity the poor member of the working class (who most likely voted for the elected government) and are caught up in this storm, unable to make a living.

Photos from the NY Times.  Full album here.

5 thoughts on “Suvarnabhumi Under Seige

  1. I’m sorry to see this happen.  Hopefully it will get resolved before Thailand’s image suffers too much.  Would there likely be a military coup if this goes on like this or starts to get even worse?

  2. @RakkaRay – The Army head, who right now is the deciding factor on which way this will turn out, has publicly ruled out a coup.  (Of course, that’s what is always said so who knows how it will end up.)  He did call on the PM to resign and dissolve the government and he also called on the PAD to clear out of the airport, but so far he is not willing to intervene.

  3. It’s so horrible that all of this is going on right now. From the coverage that I’ve seen over here in the states, I really can’t understand why they want the PM to step down. Why are they so angry?

  4. @TheCheshireGrins – Long, long back story to this one, but the PAD claim that the People’s Power Party (the ruling party) is just a puppet for Thaksin Shinawatra, the PM who was ousted in the 2006 coup.  The current PM is his brother-in-law.  The PAD also blames this current gov’t for the deaths of a pair of protesters in early October who died when the police bungled their attempt to remove protesters from the Parliament building.  It is possible that some faulty tear gas cannisters caused the deaths.
    Opposition leader Abhisit, who is head of the Democrat Party (not affiliated directly with PAD) has pointed out that even if the government was dissolved and new elections held, the PPP would win again even if all vote-buying (which is a problem here) was stopped.
    There doesn’t seem to be a suitable middle road that both sides will agree to.  Stay tuned…

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