PATTAYA, April 11 (TNA) — The three-day summit of government leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six Asia-Pacific region counterparts, which began began Friday and was due to end on Sunday, has been cancelled due to massive demonstrations against the Thai government, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Saturday.
Mr. Abhisit said in a speech telecast live that he had declared a state of emergency in the Thai resort town of Pattaya where the summit is held as well as in provincial seat of Chon Buri after protesters stormed into the hotel.
Red-shirted supporters of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) gathered in front of the hotel on Friday and dispersed later.
However, they returned in full force early Saturday in a bid to torpedo the ASEAN summit with the national leaders of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand..
UDD protesters demanded that Mr. Abhisit resign from his post unconditionally, dissolve the House of Representatives and organize a fresh general election.
“The government has a duty to take care of the leaders to return home,” said Mr. Abhisit.
His decision to cancel the ASEAN summit with the six dialogue partners and to impose a state of emergency came after a large number of UDD protesters, staunch supporters of convicted, ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, stormed into the hotel’s convention hall Saturday.
Earlier in the day, UDD protesters also clashed with so-called ‘Blue Shirts’ as they headed for the hotel. A number of protesters were injured in the clash.
Mr. Abhisit said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban would oversee carrying out the state of emergency which took effect immediately. (TNA)
Political News : Last Update : 14:49:25 11 April 2009 (GMT+7:00)