Political crisis in Thailand worsened on Thursday as authorities shut down Bangkok’s second airport after anti-government protesters seized the complex, with thousands of weary and angry tourists, including Indians, stranded in the ‘land of smiles’.
The capital’s main airport Suvarnaboomi has already been closed since Tuesday night after it was taken over by activists of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is demanding resignation of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.
There seemed to be no sign of the crisis abating as Somchai, whom the protesters have accused of acting as a stooge for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, refused to step down after the country’s army chief suggested that fresh elections be held.
The siege at the multi million dollar Suvarnaboomi airport and the Don Muang airport by yellow shirted anti-government protesters has hit the country’s tourist industry after hundreds of flights were cancelled to the Asian hub which sees at least 700 flights take off and land every day.
The situation worsened today after authorities shut down the Don Muang domestic airport, which had been receiving some diverted flights from Suvarnaboomi, after officials expressed fear that protesters could damage aircraft or harm passengers.
Somchai, Thaksin’s brother-in-law, however, had no plans to step down and said in an address to the nation yesterday that he had “a job to protect democracy for the people of Thailand.”