EC, Gov't meeting called off after venue stormed by protesters

national May 15, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, led protesters to besiege the venue where the Election Commission and the government were due to meet, prompting it to be aborted.

Suthep and other PDRC leaders, including Satit Wongnontoey, Witthaya Kaewparadai, and Tavon Senneam, led protesters in vehicles to besiege the Kantarat Auditorium of the Royal Thai Airforce where acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan had agreed to meet the EC to discuss the preparations for July 20 election.
The protesters rallied in front of the auditorium and surrounded all the gates, hoping to block Niwattumrong from leaving.
When Suthep and state enterprise unionists broke into the compound at 10:50am through a back gate, they found that the prime minister and the EC had already left the venue.
The protesters surrounded the auditorium building after storming the compound. Police formed lines to guard the stairway into the building.
During the commotion, Group Captain Rawin Thanomsing, deputy spokesman of the Air Force’s Civilian Affairs Division, came to talk to Suthep.
Suthep said he did not want the meeting to end but he would like to talk to the prime minister to find a solution for the country.
The meeting had been running for about 20 minutes when the protesters entered the compound and surrounded the building, prompting the prime minister and the EC to leave the venue urgently.
EC Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said the meeting had yet to discuss details when security officials informed participants that protesters had stormed the compound.
Somchai said the government’s representatives left the meeting without scheduling another, adding that he expected the next meeting would be held via teleconference.
The disrupted meeting might prompt the election to be delayed from July 20, Somchai added.

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