The political crisis that has trapped thousands of foreign tourists in Thailand could be coming to a head. Embattled Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat has declared a state of emergency at two Bangkok airports being occupied by anti-government protestors.
This has fuelled speculation that a military coup could be imminent. The army is reluctant to act against the demonstrators and has ignored previous orders to clear them from government buildings.
In a TV address Somchai said the protests were causing massive damage to the economy and that order had to be restored.
The opposition People’s Action for Democracy Group, or PAD, says Somchai’s action could backfire on him.
One protest leader said: “What the government’s announced will make more people join us. The same thing happened with the last prime minister.”
Somchai and his predecessor are seen by the protestors as merely puppets for Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as premier in a military coup in 2006.
The country has been deeply divided over Thaksin and his allies for years, but in this latest crisis it is tourists who are caught in the middle.