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Anti-government protesters seize control of Bangkok airport 26/11/2008

Thai authorities have begun evacuating some of the thousands of passengers stranded at Bangkok international airport after it was taken over by anti-government protesters.

Most flights in and out of the capital have now been suspended.

As the crisis deepens, the Thai Army chief Anupong Paochinda, has been meeting security officials and business leaders.

He's due to hold a news conference later in the day.

A spokesman for the PAD, Parnthep Pourpongpan has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program the protesters will not leave the airport until Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigns.

"Until the prime minister resigns from his post immediately without any conditions, and we expect that by today or tomorrow the prime minister must decide to do something."

The Australian government says it's monitoring the political situation in Thailand.

The trade minister, Simon Crean, has reissued a plea to travellers to exercise a high degree of caution and to avoid large gatherings.

Mr Crean also says extra foreign affairs department staff have been rostered to deal with inquiries from Australians affected by protests at the airport.

"Some Australians, including those in transit have been affected by flight disruptions. The Austrlaian embassy is maintaining close contact with local authorities and consular officers have been stationed in Bangkjok international airport to assist Australians and liaise with the airlines."

Produced by Radio Australia and Australia Network

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Last updated: Thursday, November 27, 2008 at 08:00:01

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