PATTAYA, April 11 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is here to attend the 14th Asean Summit and related summits, is safe despite attempts by anti-government protesters to storm the Royal Cliff Grand Hotel & Spa where he is staying.
Protesters gathered and created a commotion at the hotel’s entrance at about 1pm local time but left about 30 minutes later after being persuaded by security authorities.
The tense situation forced Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to declare a state of emergency in Pattaya and Chonburi.
The hotel, located opposite the summit’s venue at the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (Peach), also housed other Asean leaders including Abhisit.
Helicopters were seen hovering over the summit’s venue and the hotel.
Earlier, hundreds of protesters stormed into the meeting venue, forcing the cancellation of the 14th Asean Summit.
Among the programmes today were the Asean leaders’ summit with six dialogue partners, starting with the Asean – China Summit.
It had to be postponed, however, after anti-government protesters blocked all roads to the meeting’s venue and clashed with pro-government supporters.
It is learnt that members of the Chinese delegation, who were staying at the Dusit Thani Hotel several kilometres away, were reluctant to travel to the meeting venue despite appeals by Thai government officials, including Pattaya Mayor Ittipol Kumpleum, who had offered to take them by helicopters or by boat to the seaside resort.
The postponement of the Asean-China Summit also meant that the demonstrators had scuttled the signing of the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement.
Besides the Asean – China Summit, the 10-member Asean grouping was also scheduled to have summits with South Korea, Japan and India today while the 4th East Asia Summit, which includes Australia and New Zealand, is scheduled for tomorrow.
Source : Bernama