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Phuket protesters board the bus to Bangkok, where they will join the growing rallies

Phuket Protesters Mobilized to Bangkok

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
PHUKET anti-government protesters, 50 in all, are on the PAD Express to Bangkok tonight after leaving from Saphan Hin in Phuket City at 7pm.

More busloads are expected to run in the coming days.

PAD leaders are urging people to move to the capital to join protests, says PAD Phuket Co-ordinator Khun Arparat, and have asked PAD groups to mobilize supporters.

Suvarnabhumi airport was closed for all flights early this morning after thousands of PAD protesters blocked access roads and occupied the terminal, leaving thousands of travellers stranded.

In Phuket and elsewhere in the South, people joining the cause come from a wide range of occupations, but tend to be from higher educational and social classes, says Khun Arparat.

There are active recruitment efforts in local universities, she says.

Phuket PAD activity is being financed by local businessmen, says Khun Arparat, who she declined to name.

Up until this week, late-afternoon gatherings attracting about 200 PAD supporters a day were held in Saphan Hin in Phuket City, where pro-PAD ASTV programs were aired.

Tonight, the area was used to organize and load bus passengers; there were no TV broadcasts.

A 53-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, said she was sceptical of the PAD cause at first but when learning more about government corruption her views changed.

After her daughter was injured as a bystander to a PAD clash with police in Bangkok earlier this year, the woman got more actively involved.

One man boarding the bus said his entire family, including his nine-year-old daughter, were PAD members.

Another woman, who works in a government office in Phuket, told Phuketwan that most of her colleagues are PAD supporters.


Phuket Airport Open but Tourists Trapped
Thousands of tourists cannot reach Phuket today as Suvarnabhumi airport's closure has forced inbound flights to cancel. Resorts offer 70 percent discounts for stranded passengers.
Phuket Airport Open but Tourists Trapped

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