Asian leaders have been airlifted from the venue of a summit in Thailand they were attending after it was besieged by anti-government protestors.
The conference was cancelled after the supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra broke through security and stormed the hotel in Pattaya. The current prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has declared a state of emergency in the city and said the priority was now the safe repatriation of the delegates, who included UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon. He expressed his deep regret at the cancellation. The incident is a huge embarrasment for the Thai government — regional security had been on the agenda of the ASEAN summit. The protestors claim the country’s current leadership is not legitimate because, they say, Shinawatra was ousted illegally from power in 2006. Thailand has had four prime ministers over the last 15 months but none has succeeded resolving the country’s political turmoil.