Tension builds up as angry protesters seized police vehicles near the Suvamabhumi International Airport during confrontation with Thai Police forces. Angry protesters remained defiant as the standoff enters its fifth day today.
Militant protesters refused to heed the call of Thai Prime Minister Somchai to resolve the standoff through negotiation with government authorities. The Prime Minister remained in Chiang Mai where he landed from his overseas trip to attend the just concluded APEC meeting with the heads of governments of the Asia Pacific nations. Somchai was unable to land in Bangkok as the airport was already occupied by the militants prior to his return.
Earlier today, tension escalated when the angry demonstrators heard the warning of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who is rumored to be in China, that there will be bloodshed and violence if the military decides to stage a coup. The head of the Peoples Alliance for Democracy (PAD), Sondhi Limthongkul, said “If I have to die today, I am willing to die. This is a fight for dignity” His thousands of followers argued with the police as they noticed the setting up of police checkpoints aimed at blocking the passage of more rally participants to the site.
The Prime Minister has declared an emergency rule in the two occupied airports to enable the police to clear the area and force the demonstrators to leave. But later the police decided not to use force and opted instead to negotiate. The protesters refused. This prompted the Prime Minister to dismiss the chief of the national police for failing to execute the emergency rule.
The current standoff has stranded thousands of passengers. Some were sent back to the hotels by the airline companies. Others try to find a way to get out of Thailand through its boarders by land.
Later this afternoon, the police decided to cordon off the international airport where the militant protesters have gathered raising fears of an imminent confrontation. There is also a build up of police presence as an estimated 2,000 police were posted in strategic areas of the airport.
A pro-government rally has been scheduled for Sunday in central Bangkok. Obviously the rally will try to show the protesters that the people are still supportive of the present administration.
In the meantime, thousands to travelers remained stranded in the airports and in hotels in Bangkok while the country losses millions of dollars in tourism receipts. On its 5th day, the siege continues.