Asian leaders attending a summit in Thailand have been caught up in the country’s political turmoil.
Supporters of fomer Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra took their protest to the venue of the ASEAN conference of regional powers in the city of Pattaya, but they were unable to push their way through the security cordon. They say Shinawatra was forced out of office illegally and that the current leadership has no legitimacy. Their march sparked a counter demonstration by those whose protests led to the ousting of Shinawatra in the first place. Against this background the Asian leaders pressed ahead with their summit. But the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, said the demonstrations had not disturbed the delegates. The pro-Shinawatra group finally dispersed after representatives were allowed to hand in a letter outling their demands to the conference. They said it was never their intention to stop the gathering from going ahead, they just wanted to highlight their grievances, they said.