[PHOTO AT LEFT - RALLY IN THAILAND: Supporters of ousted Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra force their way as the glass door shatters past soldiers at one of the venues of the 14th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Pattaya April 11. A summit of Asian leaders in Pattaya, Thailand has effectively been cancelled after anti-government protesters broke into part of the conference venue, a Thai government spokesman said Saturday. Reuters)]

PATTAYA, THIALAND, APRIL 12, 2009 (BULLETIN) By EDMER F. PANESA (via PLDT) In what could be the worse show of democracy, anti-government protesters burst through the venue of the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Global Dialogue in this resort town, causing panic among the delegates, including the leaders, prompting its eventual cancellation.

“The summit has been cancelled,” Press Secretary Cerge Remonde told members of the Philippine Media delegation here.

The protesters, who were wearing red shirts as a symbol of loyalty to exiled former Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, stormed the Royal Cliff beach resort, where President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her party composed of seven Cabinet members were billeted for the meeting.

The demonstrators also massed at the other hotels and resorts in this enclave where the other top ASEAN leaders are staying including the group’s dialogue partners.

Nothing was spared as the protestors hammered through the press center, shooing media delegation, who were busy pounding their computers to meet the deadline, out of the venue inside the Pattaya exhibition and convention hall.

Although, no one was hurt in the incident, foreign delegates were puzzled why the demonstrators were able to break through the barriers of the local law enforcers to penetrate the summit venue.

Appearing nonchalant about the situation, Remonde assured that the President and her official party were unscathed. “She is okay. The President has seen a lot of these things.”

“It’s good that this did not happen when we hosted the (ASEAN) summit,” Remonde quoted the Chief Executive as saying.

Following the cancellation, Remonde disclosed the President will fly to Dubai, United Arab Emirates a day ahead of schedule.

Rocky Ignacio, reporter of NBN Channel and a veteran of demonstration coverages, described the situation as relatively tense.

“They were not unruly. We were they chanting something, the decibel going higher every now and then. And we did not understand a word. Our fear is that they may have something hidden,” Ignacio said.

What seems to be certain was that the demonstrators have achieved their main objective of embarrassing the host country, particularly the leadership of Prime Minister Abhishit Vvejajiva, whom they want ousted.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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