The Adventure Begins?

December 4, 2008 - 6:09 pm No Comments

An edited summary of the recent drama in Thailand from Wikipedia:

On the evening of Tuesday 25 November 2008, the People’s Alliance for Democracy executed what they called “Operation Hiroshima.” A convoy of hundreds of armed PAD members dressed in yellow blocked the two ends of the road in front of the terminal building of Suvarnabhumi International Airport and blockaded the main road to the airport. The airport is Bangkok’s main airport and an important regional hub. PAD forces quickly overpowered hundreds of policemen armed with riot gear. PAD leaders mounted a mobile stage and proceeded to criticize the government. PAD members armed with clubs, iron bars and knives, with some wearing black balaclavas, then entered the terminal, much to the surprise of the thousands of travelers inside. Armed PAD forces also forced their way into the control tower, demanding the flight plan for Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat’s return from the APEC summit in Peru. Somchai flew into Bangkok Don Muang airport on the evening of 25 November 2008 before flying on to Chiang Mai. All Suvarnabhumi flights were soon canceled, leaving thousands of travelers stranded in the airport.

The government called on the Royal Thai Army to restore order at the airport. The Army did not follow the orders. In a press conference on 26 November, Army Commander General Anupong Paochinda proposed that the PAD withdraw from the airport and that the government resign. He also proposed that if the PAD did not comply, that they be subject to “social sanctions”, whereas if the government did not comply, that the bureaucracy stop implementing government orders. A written copy of the proposal was sent to the government. Neither the PAD or the government complied with the proposal.

At 4:30 AM on the morning of 26 November, three explosions were heard on the fourth floor of Suvarnbumi on the outside of the passenger terminal. Another explosion was reported at 6 AM. Several people were injured. It was not clear who set off the explosions.The PAD did not allow the police or forensics experts to investigate the explosions.

The PAD became the de-facto authority over the airport and the airplanes within it. Airports of Thailand, which planned to use U-Tapao military airbase outside of Bangkok as a replacement for Suvarnabhumi, pleaded with PAD leadership to release nearly a hundred empty aircraft from Suvarnabhumi.

Shortly after the Constitutional Court dissolved the three parties of the government coalition on 2 December 2008, the PAD held a press conference where they announced that they were ending all of their protests as of 10 AM on 3 December 2008. “We have won a victory and achieved our aims,” said Sondhi Limthongkul.

A bunch of my friends have sent me notes about this, wishing me luck and telling me to be careful. Even Doug is a little wary. But it’s sounding like things will be back to normal by the time we get out there. I say this makes things more exciting. 🙂

We’re off in three weeks!

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