PDRC promise not to block air traffic

The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has no intention of disrupting air traffic control or the operation of the stock market, anti-government protest spokesman Akanat Promphan said on Tuesday.

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Mr Akanat told reporters that the PDRC will not send demonstrators to lay siege to Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) or the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

"We don't want to cause trouble to civilians, we want only to pressure caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down," Mr Akanat said.

The PDRC continued its Bangkok Shutdown campaign to stop state officials from working for a second day on Tuesday, closing 10 government offices, including the National Economic and Social Development Board, where officials were forced to evacuate.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, who oversees the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, said on national television on Tuesday morning that government was concerned about the PDRC's plan to disrupt air traffic control and stock trading.

Mr Surapong said such activities would be against the law and cause trouble for the general public and tourists.

Although protesters had surrounded the Customs Department, the Commerce Ministry and the Labour Ministry people are still able to use the services of the state agencies as usual. The caretaker government will do its best to continue to administer the country and resolve the protest situation as quickly as possible, Mr Surapong added.

But Mr Akanat insisted that the PDRC would not be involved in targeting the bourse or Aerothai.

The threats to block the SET and Aerothai, were in fact made by the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) - an ally of the PDRC but a separate group.

The NSPRT said on Monday that its members will rally at the SET and Aerothai on Wednesday if caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra defies calls for her resignation.

Aerothai president Prajak Sajjasophon said on Tuesday that the organisation has prepared a backup system to cope with any blockade. He renewed his warning to protesters that disrupting air traffic control would damage the reputation of the country.

Aerothai is in sole charge of communications between aircraft and air traffic controllers in Thailand. Their offices in Bangkok's Sathorn district act as a networking centre for computer systems linking air traffic control posts across the country.

About 1,400 flights land at and take off from Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports everyday. Another 600 flights pass through the Thai airspace each day.

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