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Phuket Pad Plans Large Rally For April


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Phuket PAD Rally Planned

By Apinya Saksri

ABOUT 150 members of the People's Alliance for Democracy movement returned to the island today after a large rally in north-east Thailand.

Two thirds of the PAD members, from Phuket and Phang Nga, travelled to the gathering in Udon Thani on February 14 in a tour bus, a minivan and a pickup.

Most of those who made the trip are PAD security. About 50 others travelled to the rally using their own transport.

It is understood that many of the costs involved in the trip were met by ''sponsors.''

Aparat Chartchutikumjorn, the PAD Phuket coordinator, said about 20,000 people attended the rally at Nongprajak Park in Udon Thani city.

''It was a good chance to talk about aims and objectives and learn about new politics in Thailand,'' she said.

On April 18, she said, Phuket would become the centre for a large political rally at Saphan Hin in Phuket City, with national leaders of the PAD already invited and expected to attend.

She said that the PAD-led blockade of Bangkok's major airports late last year was not the cause of the downturn in tourism, as some critics have been suggesting.

''It is not likely to ever happen again and most people returned to normal soon afterwards,'' she said.

Natjarong Ekpermsab, leader of Phuket Watch, another political group affiliated with the PAD, told Phuketwan that the airport blockades certainly had an effect through December and January on tourism, leading to cancelled bookings.

But he said the current problems associated with tourism were caused by the world economic downturn.

''I think Phuket will improve in the future,'' he said.


February 16, 2009

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