Thai Army Chief Urges PM to step down


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Here’s some footage from the CNN on the occupation of Suvarnabhumi airport and the current situation. (there’s a short advertisement in front, after that the footage starts).

What does that mean for Thailand’s tourism industry?

Kongkrit Hiranyakit, head of the Tourism Council of Thailand, told The Associated Press that the bombings, at the height of the high season which runs from late October to February, could cut income from tourism to half the expected 240 billion baht ($6.8 billion).

(Source: CNN.com)

Also, you might want to read what AlJazeera has to say about the current crisis

I have a group of European friends visiting Thailand for the new year. Today 3 of them have called me already and I got emails from 2 others and expect more soon – they are all concerned whether it’s safe to visit Thailand, and I’m sure there are many other people all over the world who are even more scared.

If these protesters really love Thailand, then they should sacrifyce their own agenda for the better of Thailand, and not the other way around…

Here’s an excerpt from India Times on what happened at Suvarnabhumi from the travelers’ perspective:

airport director Saereerat Prasutanont saying 3,000 passengers had been stranded and 402 flights cancelled.

Angry, tired and hungry passengers had earlier began leaving Suvarnabhumi on buses provided by airport authorities, after many spent the night sleeping on baggage carousels and at check-in desks.

They complained that they had had nothing to eat or drink since the protesters burst into the two-year-old terminal late Tuesday, and that no one was giving them information about what was going on.

“It was very unclear. Thai Airways staff said we need to vacate the airport, go get your bags and get out,” said traveller Andrea Neil from Australia.

A meeting between Thailand’s military and business leaders gives some hope that the protests might end soon, so Thai stocks rebound a bit after decline when the Airport was shut down.

However, the outcome of that meeting was:

Thailands army chief General Anupong Paojinda stepped in urged prime minster Somchai Wongsawat to step down and hold new elections..

“We will send him a letter to inform that he must dissolve the house and call new elections,” the general told a news conference after an urgent meeting of military and business leaders to address the deepening crisis.

“This is not a coup,” he said. “The government still has full authority. These points are the way to solve the problem which has plunged the country into a deep crisis.”

“As army chief, if I launch a coup the problems would be solved once and for all. But there would be a lot of consequences including the international reaction.”

Well, a coup might solve the problem of the airport being occupied and protesters on the street – but it wouldn’t solve any of Thailands political and structural problems as far as I can tell.

Thai PM, who just landed in Thailand at Chiang Mai airport, declined to comment on the Army Chief’s “suggestion”.