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Thai Flights Disrupted as Protesters Storm Airport
Thai tourism industry in trouble due to anti-government demonstrations.

Flight operations at Thailand's main international airport were disrupted on Nov. 25t after hundreds of anti-government protesters stormed the terminal building.

"We have ordered the closure of the airport because PAD supporters have come inside the airport, breaching international safety rules," an airport spokeswoman told reporters.

Members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) broke through police lines and began roaming through the new, sprawling $4 billion Suvarnabhum international airport terminal, southeast of Bangkok, as startled tourists looked on.

The terminal invasion capped a dramatic day that also saw PAD protesters firing on pro-government supporters on a major road leading to the old airport to the north of the city.

Footage aired by public broadcaster TPBS showed at least two PAD security guards firing half a dozen rounds from handguns. The PAD said they were attacked first with planks and stones.

At least 11 people were hurt, a city emergency services official said.

There were chaotic scenes at Suvarnabhumi, gateway for the 13 million tourists who visit every year, when protesters broke through lines of hundreds of shield-toting riot police.

Earlier, thousands of PAD members waved plastic hand-clappers, flags and portraits of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, while others slung razor wire across the four-lane access road.

"Our goal is to shut down Suvarnabhumi airport until Somchai quits," PAD spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan said of the protest, aimed at Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who returns on Wednesday from an Asia-Pacific summit in Peru.
He would not land at Suvarnabhumi, a spokesman said. (Agencies)






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