Flights in and out of Thailand’s Phuket Airport have resumed after it was closed by anti-government protestors on Friday. The action left thousands of tourists stranded in one of the country’s most popular resorts.
There has been a show of support for beleagured Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej. More than 1,000 of his followers gathered outside parliament as politicians discussed the protests that have plunged the country into chaos.
During the emergency debate, Samak once again insisted that he would not bow to the demonstrators’ demands to stand down. He has the backing of the six parties of the ruling coalition but speculation is growing that he might call a snap elecion.
Analysts believe the announcement may come after Wednesday, when parliament is expected to approve a budget for the next 12 months. That would give sitting ministers funds to support their election prospects.
The protests are led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a group of businessmen, academics and activists who accuse Samak of being a proxy of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. He was ousted by a military coup two years ago.
The group is encamped inside the prime minister’s compound in Bangkok and says it will not leave until he is out of office.