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Anti-government protesters seize Bangkok airport

Thai protesters today tightened their hold on Bangkok airport, where thousands of travellers were left stranded. Police said 8,000 demonstrators had camped out at the airport overnight vowing to topple the government.

world Updated: Nov 26, 2008 13:44 IST

Thai protesters on Wednesday tightened their hold on Bangkok airport, where two people were wounded in a blast and thousands of travellers left stranded by demonstrators vowing to topple the government.

Two grenade attacks elsewhere in the capital deepened the sense of lawlessness after demonstrators stormed the airport on Tuesday night, dramatically stepping up their campaign against Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat.

Suvarnabhumi Airport, a major Southeast Asian hub for millions of passengers, was closed down as guards from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protest movement sealed off roads to the facility.

"I have been informed by Thai Airways that 3,000 passengers are stranded at the terminal now," airport director Saereerat Prasutanont told AFP, adding that 78 outbound and incoming flights were affected.

"Protesters refused to negotiate with anyone except the prime minister," said Saereerat.

Police said 8,000 demonstrators, most wearing yellow clothes in a traditional symbol of loyalty to the revered monarchy, had camped out at the three-billion-dollar airport overnight.

Another 1,500 were moving towards the terminal from Government House, the prime minister's office in central Bangkok which demonstrators have occupied since August, paralysing the government.

"It's not fair," said Vanessa Sloan, 31, from Florida, who arrived at the airport on tuesday night and was supposed to fly on to the northern city of Chiang on Wednesday.

"We spent the night here after all the check-in staff ran away," she said. "No one is here to help."

Dejected passengers were camping out near the check-in desks surrounded by trolleys piled high with baggage, an AFP correspondent said.

First Published: Nov 26, 2008 09:23 IST