Thai court drops terrorism charges over 2008 airport protest

Thai court drops terrorism charges over 2008 airport protest
Thai court drops terrorism charges over 2008 airport protest

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - This file picture taken on November 25, 2008 shows anti-government protesters shouting slogans during a protest at Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok. A Thai court dismissed on March 29, 2024 terrorism charges against 67 anti-government protest leaders who occupied Bangkok's international airport in 2008, one of the defendants said. — AFP pic

BANGKOK, March 29 — A Thai court dismissed today terrorism charges against 67 anti-government protest leaders who occupied Bangkok’s international airport in 2008, one of the defendants said.

Thousands of so-called Yellow Shirt protesters took control of Bangkok’s two airports for more than a week to demand the resignation of then-prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, causing international headlines and flight disruptions that stranded hundreds of thousands of tourists.

Panthep Puapongpan, the former spokesperson for the group and one of the defendants, said the court had dismissed the case and that the group’s action was “constitutional”.

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“The court ruling shows that our work was not done for nothing,” he said on his personal page today.

The 67 defendants included politicians, diplomats and singers but the court ruled that their actions were “peaceful and weapon-free”.

Backed by Bangkok’s elites, the Yellow Shirts — officially known as the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) — halted their action after a ruling by the Constitutional Court dismissed Somchai from office.

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Somchai was the brother-in-law of billionaire former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, a controversial figure loathed by many Bangkok elites who had himself been ousted as PM in a 2006 coup.

The court dropped charges against 31 other PAD protest leaders in January but ordered some of them to pay a fine of 20,000 baht (RM2,598) for violating an emergency decree that was then in place. — AFP

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