The Constitutional Court of Thailand decided that the ruling People Power Party had to dissolve. Its leader, now former PM Somchai Wongsawat, was forced to leave office. That was exactly the result that the anti-government mob occupying Suvarnabhumi International Airport was hoping for. Their goal was to shut down the airport until the government was taken from power or stepped down voluntarily. Their goals achieved, the mob at the airport dispersed earlier today.
Supporters of the government criticized the court’s ruling by calling it a judicial coup. However, the court claimed it had evidence proving that the PPP, as well as several other parties, cheated and bribed their way to victory in last year’s elections. The party’s leaders will be banned from politics, but other members are already at work forming a new party called Puea Thai.
Suvarnabhumi is now empty, but it was damaged during the protests. The head of Thailand’s airports, Serirat Prasutanont, said that the airport would remain closed until 6 pm on December 15th. Equipment and systems must be checked prior to the reopening. The closure cost the airport more than $10 million.
[Related coverage @ The Nation]
Anti-government protesters in Bangkok have ramped up their campaign against the the party of prime minister Somchai Wongsawat. Early yesterday, supporters of the PAD (People’s Alliance for Democracy) stormed past police lines and entered Suvarnabhumi International Airport. When they reached the departure areas, airport officials decided to shut the airport down. Several thousand tourists and travelers were stranded in the airport while more than a dozen flights had to be diverted to Bangkok’s old international terminal at Don Muang Airport.
Over 14 million tourists came to Thailand last year. Violence between the pro and anti-government groups had done little to dissuade tourists from visiting because foreigners have not been targeted. However, the situation seems to finally have spilled over into the country’s tourism industry.
Top Thai army generals have called for the government to step down. Despite promises to the contrary, it seems that another coup is possible (even likely). Meanwhile, things don’t look good for those stranded at Suvarnabhumi. PAD supporters have vowed to “close Suvarnabhumi Airport to send a final word… to Somchai and his cabinet: resign immediately and without conditions.” But the government is not budging. So looks like those trying to get into or out of The Land of Smiles are in for some frustration.