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All quiet at Provincial Hall

Legacy Phuket Gazette



All quiet at Provincial Hall | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: The scene at Phuket Provincial Hall remained quiet late this morning, despite Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s announcement earlier that he would not step down – as many had expected – to ease political tensions throughout the country.

Just before noon there were only about 10 members of the Phuket Watch group, a local affiliate of the Peoples’ Alliance for Democracy (PAD), at Phuket Provincial Hall.

Among them was Phuket Watch leader Natjarong Ekpermsup who told the Gazette yesterday afternoon that his group planned to end their occupation of Phuket Provincial Hall grounds last night and move back to Saphan Hin, their usual gathering spot.

However, today PAD members are still stationed at entranceways to Provincial Hall, though the building remains open for service to the public.

Despite reports that the building had been “seized” by the protesters over the past few days, the situation there has been peaceful throughout. Many government officials simply stayed home after the Governor said they did not have to report to work on Monday.

Other government workers joined the PAD protesters outside the building.

Given this morning’s developments, Mr Natjarong told the Gazette just before noon today that he and his group would remain at Provincial Hall and continue to closely monitor the situation in Bangkok. The decision as to whether to move to Saphan Hin would be made later today, he said.

A television screen showing PAD protest activities in Bangkok via the anti-government ASTV remains set up on the grounds of Provincial Hall for this purpose.

Mr Natjarong said he was not surprised by Samak’s address this morning, saying the PM was “playing games” as usual.

Clarifying the situation inside Provincial Hall was Manas Nurak, personal secretary to Phuket Governor Niran Kalayanamit.

“Provincial Hall re-opened for work as normal on Tuesday, but PAD members have restricted parking lot access for cars of VIPs – the Governor and his deputies. Members of the public who need to conduct business here need to make their way in on foot. Members of the mob have been conducting body searches and looking through people’s bags before allowing them to enter.

All officers here are still working today as normal, though it has been inconvenient for them since they cannot park their cars as usual,” he said.


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