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Rioters and police clash on Phuket in a mock protest on the airport road

Phuket Riot Police, Protesters Block Airport Road

Thursday, August 27, 2009
Airport Invasion Anniversary: Photo Album Above

RIOT POLICE clashed with hundreds of protesters on the road to Phuket International Airport today . . . then they all enjoyed the waterplay and had a good laugh.

Just one year ago, the airport was invaded by Peoples' Alliance for Democracy yellow shirts who occupied the airport for three days, marooning thousands of tourists on the island and preventing others from coming.

We didn't realise it then but it was the beginning of a particularly turbulent period for the whole country . . . a period that has yet to reach a conclusion.

Back then, the police on Phuket did not offer any resistance to the invaders. The whole event was peaceful and harmless to everything . . . except the island's tourism industry, which has yet to recover.

Then in November, the lessons of the invasion of Phuket airport unlearned, the yellow shirts tried their luck again on a bigger stage at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok . . . and yet again, there was no resistance by soldiers or police.

If there happens to be another attempt at an invasion, the outcome could be different.

Today 1300 police and 500 protesters, consisting of local volunteers and some soldiers, staged a riot practice drill on the airport road outside the Thalang Technical School.

Traffic to and from the airport was diverted down the back road through Nai Yang from noon to 4pm.

Police came from Krabi, Surat Thani and Phang Nga to join the practice. Two were actually injured . . . a higher toll than during the original occupation.

Back then, Phuketwan updated more than 50 times over the three days of the protest, winning the plaudits of Phuket's leaders and establishing its reputation as the news source that provides real value when the island has a crisis.

Tourists all over the world who were looking to fly to Phuket sent Phuketwan emails saying how grateful they were for such a thorough, professional service.

There's no telling what the future might hold, now or then.

We were particularly struck by the heading on one of our reports: 'PM Samak Tells Thailand: I Am Not Going Anywhere.'

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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Even practice drills can be caught on camera and sent around the world as fact that it happened. Stupid idea to do this.

Posted by Mouse on August 27, 2009 17:39

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I do hope, that IF anyone is dumb enough to try such a protest for real again, that the police WILL stop it. This practice sounds like a great idea. 2 police injured? Great, sounds like some of the volunteers were actually seeing if the police can do their job! Can you imagine the police response if a mob tried to take over Heathrow? or JFK?

Posted by Jamie on August 27, 2009 21:50


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