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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Protestors block Suvarnabhumi terminal before dispersing

Some 1,000 Disgruntled residents from 32 housing estates affected from noise pollution at Suvarnabhumi airport in this province neighboring Bangkok Sunday marched on the airport and blocked access to the passenger terminal. After senior officials accepted their demands for consideration, the protestors dispersed without a report of any serious violent incidents.

Samut Prakan governor Anuwat Maetheeviboonvudh and Suvarnabhumi airport director Serirat Prasutanond held talks with protesting residents and accepted demands, submitted earlier to the Transport Ministry, for talks with Transport Minister Thira Haocharoen and board members of the Airports of Thailand (AoT).

During the protest, leaders of the demonstrating local residents took turns speaking against the state-run Airports of Thailand (AoT) for solving their problems too slowly, while some 500 airport officials and police officers provided security at the airport which has been open commercially for less than a year.

Airport director Serirat said the protestors’ demands would be forwarded to the AoT board meeting due to begin Monday 1 pm.

The residents want concerned government agencies to honour last year's November 21 Cabinet resolution and want the AoT to adjust the flight timetable by having commercial airliners refrain from landing or departing during night-time like some countries which would not disturb their sleep.

Leaders of the residents said today they planned to file lawsuits against interim Prime Minister Gen. Surayud Chulanont and his entire cabinet, except for Natural Resource and Environment Minister Kasem Sanitwong Na Ayutthaya because of his earlier help to residents in evaluating the loud noise at the airport.

They said the reason they had decided to take action against the current cabinet because they government had disregarded its earlier resolution and adopted a new measure on May 29, 2007 to replace that of November 21. The change has left the local residents being severely affected by noise pollution.

Residents said they would release balloons to disrupt traffic of commercial airlines in the next nine days if no progress to solve their hardships was found.

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