Despite asserting that the PAD did not advise or recommend its Surat Thani supporters to protest Mr. Somchai’s visit from its public stage in Bangkok, it did announce the itinerary of the prime minister and urged its supporters to close airport.
Closing the airport would prevent Mr. Somchai from easily returning to the capital, observers suggested.
PAD core leader Chamlong Srimuang told the protesters occupying Government House details of Mr. Somchai’s itinerary in the South and urged them to shut down the airports. Minor clashes between the PAD and security guards were reported at Surat Thani Airport, near Nakhon Si Thammarat, as Mr. Somchai and his delegation were leaving by car.
Gen. Chamlong back-tracked, however, saying that the PAD in Bangkok was not involved and that supporters in the South had initiated pressure on Mr. Somchai on their own initiative.
Gen. Chamlong said PAD core leaders in Bangkok discussed a proposal by 24 government and private university rectors asking Mr. Somchai to initiate political reform by setting up an independent commission to start a clear and coherent process for change.
The academics proposal, aimed at unlocking Thailand’s domestic political stalemate, was made jointly after they met Thursday. “It’s acceptable for the Constitution to be amended for the sake of reform but not (simply) for the three key articles in the charter,” said Gen. Chamlong.
The specified key articles, if amended, would benefit political parties closely allied to ousted, fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now seeking political asylum in Britain. If the articles were amended, they would permit Mr. Thaksin to evade court charges he now faces. (TNA)