Hat Yai airport reopens after protest closure

Hat Yai airport reopens after protest closure Bangkok - Thailand's Hat Yai International Airport reopened Thursday after a two-day closure forced by anti-government protestors.

Thai Airways International PCL, the national carrier, resumed its thrice-daily flights to Hat Yai, about 720 kilometres south of Bangkok.

The airport had been closed on and off by anti-government protests since Friday when the government dispatched police to Government House in Bangkok to evict thousands of protestors with the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who seized the Thai government headquarters on August 26 and have occupied it since.

The airport was reopened over the weekend and then closed again by PAD supporters Tuesday after the government declared a state of emergency in Bangkok.

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Thursday refused to resign despite the political crisis that has rocked his administration and left the cabinet without offices for 10 days.

Samak called a special cabinet session Thursday to discuss means of evicting the PAD from Government House without exacerbating the crisis through violence.

The PAD is essentially a conservative Bangkok-based movement that has attracted Thailand's urban middle class fed up with corrupt politicians and seeking a "new politics" based on appointments rather than elections.

Critics accused the movement of trying to undermine Thailand's elections-based political party system, taking the country back to its feudalistic past when the military and bureaucracy led the government. (dpa)

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