Thailand evacuated leaders from an Asian summit
Saturday after anti-government protesters stormed the venue in
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva has now lifted a state of emergency in the seaside resort after
helicopters airlifted Asian leaders from the city.
Hundreds of red-shirted demonstrators, demanding
the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit, breached police lines and broke
through glass doors to enter the hotel where the ASEAN summit was to take place.
The protesters, who support
former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, consider the current government
illegitimate and want new elections.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who had been scheduled to
attend the meeting, said in a statement he regretted the postponement of the
summit but hoped for a return to normalcy through dialogue.
The annual summit was to bring together leaders of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations with the leaders of Australia, China,
India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's plane was two hours from
landing at Pattaya when he received word of the protests. His plane was diverted
to an undisclosed location for refueling and then returned to
Some information for this
report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.