Thailand Riots Cast Pall on Summit

PM backs out as protesters threaten government
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2010 3:00 AM CDT
Thailand Riots Cast Pall on Summit
Anti-government protesters wave flags at Parliament in Bangkok yesterday.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Thailand's prime minister has canceled an appearance at the annual Southeast Asia summit as rioters threaten to topple his government. Abhisit Vejjajiva declared a state of emergency yesterday hours after anti-government protesters stormed the country's parliament in Bangkok. The decree bans spreading information that threatens national security and allows authorities to arrest, detain and search people without court order, CNN notes.

"The situation in Bangkok is worrying, and it's a somber backdrop to our discussions," Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo said as the summit opened today in Vietnam. Last year's summit was hijacked by the same red-shirted Thai protesters, forcing some visiting leaders to be airlifted out by helicopter, notes AP. Protesters have vowed not to disperse until Vejjajiva dissolves parliament. The group, known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, supports former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (More Thailand stories.)

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