Thai Protests Derail ASEAN Summit
11 Apr 09 | AJE
Anti-government protesters in Thailand have forced the postponement of a summit of Asian leaders, a Thai government official has said.
Hundreds of demonstrators prevented leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) from attending their meetings on Saturday by blocking the entrance to their hotel in the beach resort of Pattaya.
The protesters stormed a building hosting the summit, honking horns and chanting slogans against the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the prime minister, whom they want to resign.
Shortly afterwards, Abhisit lifted a state of emergency imposed earlier in Pattaya after protesters forced the cancellation of the Asean summit.
Abhisit said the main task of his government was to ensure that the Asean leaders return home safely.
“I have completed my task and have ordered the lifting of the state of emergency,” he said in a brief televised statement.
Some Asean leaders were evacuated from Pattaya by helicopter, security officials said.
The protesters declared victory thereafter and withdrew peacefully from the summit venue.
Thani Thongphakdi, the deputy spokesman from the Thai ministry of foreign affairs, told Al Jazeera on Saturday: “Leaders have expressed their understanding and it was agreed that the meeting would effectively be postponed.” >>>