Thai Protesters Storm TV Station Amid Growing Unrest

BY Larisa Epatko  April 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM EDT

Protesters in Bangkok, defying a state of emergency decree, broke into a satellite relay station on Friday in the latest move in their month-long anti-government demonstrations.

The Thai “red shirt” protesters, who are mainly from the countryside and support ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, stormed the station that controls the satellite TV network they use to spread word of their rallies, which the government took off the air over concerns of the increasingly violent protests.

Soon after protesters gained access, government officials announced the People’s Television Station, as it is known, would resume broadcasting.

The protesters “managed to push past soldiers, who very half-heartedly put up a defense, but pretty much let them in to do what they needed to do, and they’re celebrating right now,” said Patrick Winn, who has been reporting on the demonstrations in Bangkok for GlobalPost.

A state of emergency rule issued Wednesday forbids public gatherings of more than five people and bans the broadcast of anti-government information that the officials say could undermine the government or public safety, said Winn.

“The big question is how much longer can this go on?,” he continued. “A lot of people in Bangkok are really frustrated by the traffic jams. They’re not big fans of these upcountry protesters. … The rallies have been going on for nearly a month now.”

Hear more of our conversation via telephone here:

 

The Associated Press ran this video report of the satellite station break-in: