Yellow Shirt leader rejects airport seizure charges

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BANGKOK, June 6 – Sondhi Limthongkul, a core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), also known as the Yellow Shirt movement, reported to police on Monday to acknowledge charges in relation to the seizure of Thailand’s two main airports in 2008.

Mr Sondhi rejected all the charges, and the prosecutor set July 8 to hear the case.

Fourteen other key PAD leaders, including retired Gen Chamlong Srimuang, appeared before the prosecutor May 10 and the special prosecutor for the criminal case is set to hear the case June 9.

The Yellow Shirt protesters staged mass protests in 2008 that led to the blockade of Thailand’s two main airports–Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang.

The airport siege paralysed the tourism industry and helped to topple the then Somchai Wongsawat administration which the Yellow Shirts accused of being a proxy of ousted  prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The airport seizure in late 2008 left hundreds of thousands of Thai and foreign passengers stranded.

The blockade was lifted after the Constitution Court disbanded the ruling People Power Party after the party was found guilty of poll fraud. All party executives, including Prime Minister Somchai were disqualified. Mr Somchai was then automatically removed from his post as prime minister.