Thai Protesters Let Empty Planes Leave Airport

But vow to remain as 100,000 stranded tourists scramble to get home
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Dec 1, 2008 2:43 AM CST
People's Alliance for Democracy protesters shout slogans and dance during a rally at the besieged Suvarnabhumi international airport.   (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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(Newser) – Thai protesters allowed 37 empty planes to be flown today from Bangkok's main airport after European nations announced they would charter flights to evacuate nationals trapped there. The planes flew to a naval base, where travelers can try to arrange to catch flights home, CNN reports. Protesters will allow another 50 flights out later today, according to the BBC.

Protesters who took over both of Bangkok's airports last week have vowed to remain until the government is bought down. A months-long siege of government headquarters will be abandoned so that more protesters can be mobilized at the main airport, according to activist leaders. The US State Department called the airport seizures “not an appropriate means of protes.” Some 100,000 travelers have been stranded for days. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat declared a state of emergency at the airports last week,