Expatica news

Spain to evacuate nationals stranded in Thailand

1 December 2008

MADRID – Spain announced on Sunday it would send planes to evacuate Spaniards stranded at Bangkok’s two airports, which have been taken over by Thai anti-government protesters, paralysing air traffic.

"Considering the special circumstances in Thailand, the Spanish government has decided to take action so that Spanish nationals affected by the continuing closure of the Bangkok airports can return home," said a foreign ministry statement.

Two military aircraft and a chartered plane would take off from Spain Sunday afternoon and arrive at Thailand’s U-Tapao military airport on Monday, Spain’s ambassador to Thailand, Juan Manuel Lopez Nadal, told Spanish radio Cadena Ser.

Thai authorities have used the military base, about 190 kilometres southeast of Bangkok, to evacuate tens of thousands of foreign tourists who could not leave Thailand after the main Suvarnabhumi international airport was seized by protesters on Tuesday.

The smaller Don Mueang airport was occupied the following day, leaving around 100,000 travellers stranded in Bangkok.

About 600 Spanish tourists are stuck in Thailand and some of them are expected to stage a demonstration outside the Spanish embassy in Bangkok on Monday to demand repatriation, Spanish media reported.

On Sunday in Bangkok, grenade attacks targeting the protesters demanding that the government step down injured at least 51 people.

The blasts came hours before thousands of supporters of the kingdom’s embattled administration were due to hold their own mass rally in the centre of the capital, creating another potential flashpoint.

[AFP / Expatica]