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Protestors to clear Bangkok airport.



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2CN AM Protestors to clear Bangkok airport

03/12/2008

TONY EASTLEY: Airlines are lining up to get their planes and passengers out of Bangkok after a week of paralysing anti-government demonstrations that closed the Thai capital's major airports.

The protesters from Thailand's People's Alliance for Democracy are due to abandon their airport occupations at 10 o'clock local time this morning.

The decision to quit the protest came after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that Thailand's Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat must step aside, something the demonstrators had been seeking for months.

Normal flights are expected to resume by Friday morning.

From Bangkok, Geoff Thompson reports.

(Sound of crowd cheering)

GEOFF THOMPSON: For the yellow-shirted Bangkok-based royalists of the People's Alliance for Democracy, last night was not just a celebration of the end of airport siege but the closure of long 192-day campaign which saw them topple two Prime Ministers loyal to the exiled Thai leader they see as the cause of all Thailand's problems, the billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra.

Each time, whether it was the downfall of Samak Sundaravej in September or Somchai Wongsawat yesterday, Thailand's Constitutional Court delivered the judicial coup the PAD so wanted.

The court's decision to dissolve three of the six ruling parties and bar their leaders from office was being treated last night as a victory for this well-to-do gang of self-appointed protectors of Thailand and its King.

FEMALE PROTESTER: Our point in win already now, because the Government is quit already. But if after this time if the Government come back again and they are very bad again, we will be here. We will be together again, for Thailand and for the King.

GEOFF THOMPSON: Earlier there was some confusion over whether the protesters intended to continue a scaled-down version of their occupations of Thailand's two big airports.

But last night their leaders read out a statement calling an end to their seven-month campaign, which according to some analysts, has seen Thailand sometimes on the verge of civil war, as the newly democratically empowered majority of the rural north upset the entrenched interests of the Bangkok set.

This is likely to be only a lull in the storm ahead, as members of the ruling parties are likely to re-form under a new coalition still loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra.

Political analyst, Dr Gothom Arya says a new prime minister is likely to come from the new Puea Thai Party which is made up of members of the outgoing Prime Minister's disbanded party the PPP (People's Power Party).

GOTHOM ARYA: We have the same kind of coalition as before, and then a member of Parliament, probably from the new Puea Thai Party will be nominated and wanted by the majority of the MPs within in say two weeks' time.

GEOFF THOMPSON: Such a nomination is unlikely to appease the grievances of the PAD, and the protests may well resume.

In Bangkok this is Geoff Thompson for AM.

TONY EASTLEY: And the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has reissued its travel advice to Thailand saying people should reconsider their need to travel because of the uncertain political situation, as well as a high threat of terrorist attack.

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