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Thai Protesters Storm Asian Summit Building


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" 11:23am UK, Saturday April 11, 2009

At least 1,000 anti-government protesters have stormed a building hosting a high-profile summit of Asian leaders in Thailand.


Anti-government protesters storm summit in Thailand


Protesters force their way past soldiers after shattering a glass door


Helicopters have been evacuating foreign leaders from the building in Pattaya while the meeting has been officially postponed.


Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has declared a state of emergency in Pattaya and the surrounding area.


The summit was scheduled to discuss the global financial crisis and North Korea's recent missile launch.


Red-shirted supporters loyal to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra breached police lines, broke down glass doors and streamed through the media centre of the hotel hosting the meeting to push their demands for Mr Abhisit's resignation.


Troops made no attempt to stop the protesters despite promises of high-level security.


Mr Abhisit has been trying to show that his four-month-old government can cure Thailand's long-running political crisis.


Protesters said they would remain inside the hotel until the prime minister resigned.


They said they stormed the building in response to the wounding of three supporters in earlier clashes with pro-government demonstrators.


Pichet Sukjindatong, one of the leaders of the protest, said: "We will stay until Abhisit quits.


"We are looking for him in this building so we can tell him to his face that he has to go. The Red Shirts have been asking him to resign for four months and we decided that now was the time to push him."


The East Asia Summit comprised the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.


ASEAN leaders were to sign an investment agreement with China, but that was scrapped after a blockade by protesters kept Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao from reaching the Royal Cliff hotel."



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