Anti-government protestors shut down both Bangkok airports

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Bangkok, Nov 27 (UNI) Anti-government protestors forced Bangkok's domestic airport to shut down today even as they defied a court order to vacate Thailand's main international airport which they have forcibly occupied since Tuesday night.

Members of the influential People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) surrounded Bangkok's Don Mueang airport early this morning in a bid to block a Cabinet meeting convened by Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat whose office has been located on the airport premises since the PAD forcefully took over the Prime Minister's Office three months ago.

Government ministers were due to travel today from Don Mueang to the northern city of Chiang Mai where the Prime Minster had convened a Cabinet meeting after returning from the APEC summit in Peru last night.

In an address to the nation last night, Mr Somchai, under pressure from the powerful armed forces and the influential PAD to resign, rejected Army chief General Anupong Paochinda's suggestion for fresh elections as a way out of the deepening political standoff that is hurting the Thai economy.

Insisting that his government was legitimate as it was elected by the majority of Thai voters, the Prime Minister demanded that the PAD end its seizure of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport and vacate his office.

''This government has legitimacy. It came through the election process by voters across the country,'' Mr Somchai told the nation, adding his government had to stay in office to safeguard democracy and ensure the rule of law.

The PAD, an umbrella grouping of the conservative elite and sections of Bangkok's business and middle class, accuses Mr Somchai's administration of being a proxy of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by the armed forces two years ago on the charges of corruption and insulting the revered monarchy.


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