反觀亞洲多國的執政黨 執政者 "心無他黨 他人"
Thai Protesters Shut Down Airport
BANGKOK — Anti-government protesters swarmed into Bangkok’s main international airport late Tuesday, prompting officials to cancel all departing flights and bringing Thailand’s political stalemate to a crisis point.
As the protesters occupied the highway to the airport on the outskirts of the city, traffic to the airport slowed to a trickle. Separately, elsewhere in Bangkok, a group of demonstrators fired handguns and beat government supporters with metal rods in fierce clashes, injuring six people, according to video footage shown on Thai television. City emergency services officials put the number higher, saying at least 11 people were hurt, according to Reuters.
The incursion into Suvarnabhumi airport, as the capital’s new airport is known, represented a bold and serious challenge to the government, which in recent days has sought to placate the protestors and has tried to avoid confrontation with them.
Riot police were called into the airport complex late Tuesday and squared off with protestors in and around the terminal.
“For the safety of all passengers, I have to stop all the flight operations and close all exits in the passenger terminal until the situation returns to normal,” Sereerat Prasutanon, director of Suvarnabhumi airport, said.
“I’m very worried about the situation now,” Mr. Sereerat said. “I think it’s time that the army comes out and helps to take care of the situation.”
Suvarnabhumi airport is the world’s 18th largest in terms of passenger traffic, handling 41 million passengers last year. It is the main gateway for tourists and businesspeople arriving in Thailand and a major transit hub for Southeast Asia.
Earlier, protestors put razor wire across the entrance to the airport, leaving only one lane of the main highway open and causing severe congestion.
Throughout the day Tuesday, thousands of protestors kept the Thai government on the run, blocking the entrance to the government’s temporary offices at the old airport north of the city and massing in front of Army headquarters. In the violent clashes, one pro-government supporter was shown pleading for his life as protesters wielded long knives at his throat.
Tuesday was the second day of what the leaders of the long-running protest vowed would be their final push to unseat the government of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. On Monday, protestors forced the cancellation of an important session of Parliament and temporarily cut electricity supply to the police headquarters.
Many Thais have grown frustrated with the protests, which have been held on and off for about three years.
The Thai print media, which over the past three years has been generally critical of the government and supportive of the protests, has recently run articles skeptical of the daily street demonstrations.
One columnist in the Nation newspaper Tuesday called the protests a “never-ending saga that is futile and a drain on society.”
“A rethink has become an imperative to put an end to the political turmoil,” the columnist wrote. “It is time for all sides to stop the political melodrama.”
The People’s Alliance for Democracy, as the group leading the movement to unseat the government calls itself, still has a remarkably loyal following, mainly among middle- and upper-class Thais, students and some union members.
The alliance raided and took over the prime minister’s office compound in August, forcing the government to operate out of the VIP terminal of Don Muang airport, the capital’s older airport which is now used exclusively for domestic flights. On Monday, protestors blocked access to the government offices at Don Muang.
“You don’t have to doubt what we will do next,” Somsak Kosaisuk, a protest leader, said Tuesday from a temporary stage set up at Don Muang airport. “First, we will not let the cabinet use this place for their meetings anymore. Second, wherever they go for their meetings, we have our special troops that will follow them.”
Somchai Wongsawat, the prime minister, is scheduled to return late Wednesday from a trip to Peru, where he attended a summit meeting of Asia Pacific leaders. Protestors say they plan to disrupt a cabinet meeting that was initially planned for Wednesday but may be pushed back.
The underlying conflict in Thailand is over the question of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s role in Thai politics. Mr. Thaksin, deposed in a coup two years ago and convicted in absentia last month for abuse of power in a highly politicized trial, now reportedly says he is eager to return to Thailand.
“With me at the helm I can bring confidence quickly back to Thailand,” Mr. Thaksin was quoted saying in an interview with Arabian Business, a magazine based in the United Arab Emirates, where he is believed to be in exile. “We have to find a mechanism under which I can go back, that is why I must tell you that I will go back into politics.”
With Mr. Thaksin still abroad, protestors say their first goal is to remove the current government, which it accuses of being Mr. Thaksin’s proxy.
Yet as the Thai economy slows down amid the global financial crisis and as the stalemate between the government and the protestors deepens, an increasing number of people are hoping for an end to the incessant protests.
“How is it going to end?” said Bharavee Boonsongsap, a 34-year-old producer for MTV Thailand. “I keep asking people but they have no answer. Thais are fighting Thais. People have become aggressive, and even children have been taught to hate the opposite side.”