Protesters Keep Bangkok Airport Closed

Airports in Thailand are still occupied by anti-government protesters. The demonstrators are trying to force the democratically elected prime minister to resign and dissolve his party.

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ALEX COHEN, host:

From NPR News, it's Day to Day. We go now to Bangkok, Thailand, where more anti-government demonstrators went to the capital's two main airports today. These demonstrators have been occupying the airports to try to force the current democratically elected government to resign.

These protesters are well-armed in case they're assaulted by police. But as NPR's Michael Sullivan reports from the international airport, these demonstrators don't seem too worried about the threat of violence.

(Soundbite of rally)

MICHAEL SULLIVAN: This doesn't feel like an occupation. This feels more like a carnival. There are thousands of people gathered here outside the terminal of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport. I'm standing outside the Thai Airways' Royal First and Royal Silk entrance. This is entrance number one here. And there are people lined up to get free food that's been provided by the organizers. There's lots of free drink here.

There's a bunch of people over to my left here taking advantage of free clothing that's being handed out here. Let me see what they have. They have shirts. They have some blankets for when it gets a little colder a little later. They even have some underwear for people who have been here for a few days and want some clean underwear. They have that here, too.

And the people here seem to be jubilant. I see more cars arriving here all the time, and this despite the fact that the police have been ordered by the government, by the prime minister, to shut this thing down. Now, what they're after is to get the government and the prime minister, the current government and prime minister, to resign. But let's go find someone and ask them specifically why they feel this way. Hi.

GINA (ph): Hi.

SULLIVAN: I'm Michael.

GINA: Yeah. My name is Gina.

SULLIVAN: Gina, what are you doing here?

GINA: Me? I want to show up that how it's Thai people to protest against the government.

SULLIVAN: But this is an illegal occupation of the international airport, and it's an embarrassment for Thailand in the eyes of the world, isn't it?

GINA: Yeah, of course. But I know this is embarrassment. We believe that it should be like a short term, just five or four - five, six, or seven days, and then clearcut everything. It should not be long. It should not take long.

SULLIVAN: It should not take long. But if the prime minister does not resign, and the PAD refuses to leave here, then...

GINA: I believe something going to happen.

SULLIVAN: When you say something's going to happen, do you mean you think that the police are going to try to intervene?

GINA: Could be. But I think something going to happen. It's like (unintelligible). We cannot stay this way for long. But otherwise, it's going to ruin the Thailand reputation, right?

SULLIVAN: And the economy.

GINA: Yeah. The economy.

SULLIVAN: You say you're expecting a miracle. What kind of miracle?

GINA: Maybe power of somebody can stop something. Maybe that time is something like violence happen. If some violence happen, I believe that some power of somebody - I can't say, that's only this.

SULLIVAN: But you're not worried about the police coming in and forcibly dispersing you here?

GINA: I know how to escape.

(Soundbite of laughter)

GINA: I know how to escape if they come.

SULLIVAN: All right. Well, thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it. Well, there's one person who says that if the police do come and use force, she's going to find a way out of here. There are many other people who insist that they will stay here, and they will fight until they are dead. This is what you're hearing here from a lot of the protest leaders, and this is what you're hearing from a lot of the protesters who are sitting here.

COHEN: NPR's Michael Sullivan wandering the terminal at Bangkok's International Airport. Stay with us. NPR's Day to Day continues.

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