Crossposted from Antemedius
How much more will Americans take from Wall Street and the US Government before we start to see people rise up the way they are in Thailand?
ASEAN Summit Called Off As Thai Protesters Storm Site
by Charles McDermid, Los Angeles Times, via truthout.org
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Pattaya, Thailand – Thousands of protesters smashed through a glass entrance and stormed a hotel complex today during a key meeting of regional heads of state.
Thailand has declared a state of emergency in the summit’s host city Pattaya and the annual meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has been called off. Other protests have now been reported in the northern city of Chaing Mai, where protesters have blocked a road, and in Udon Thani, where demonstrators have surrounded City Hall.
The widespread turmoil caps a week of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Bangkok and raised new fears about Thailand’s political stability.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv apologized to his regional counterparts and lifted the state of emergency in an impromptu press conference held in the abandoned venue seven hours after the protesters’ assault.
“Anyone who declares this a victory is an enemy of the country,” said Abhisit.
The demonstrators swarmed past police barricades and riot police in Pattaya for the second day to demand Abhisit step down and dissolve the government.
Protest leader Kerk Somsan said the group overran the hotel in retaliation for one of their members allegedly being shot dead and others injured by gunfire in a clash with rival protesters earlier that day. They carried through on a vow to occupy the hotel if the government failed to make an arrest in the case within one hour. A Thai government spokesman said authorities are investigating the incident.
The red-shirted protesters pushed police lines up the hotel’s steps and trapped them against the entrance. After several moments, the heaving glass shattered and protesters stormed the hotel. Many were waving flags, blowing whistles and horns and chanting “Thaksin,” the name of their exiled leader and benefactor, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The unarmed group raged through several adjacent buildings in the sprawling Pattaya Exhibition and Conference Center before gathering outside the meeting hall where nine leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, were inside having lunch. The leaders were later evacuated by helicopter from the resort’s rooftop, according to reports.