Protestors pull out of Bangkok International airport

Protestors pulled out of Bangkok international airport early Wednesday morning allowing thousands of travellers to return home following an eight-day blockade.

The Foreign Office said 5,000 UK tourists remained in Bangkok of the 6,000 stranded by the protest – including an estimated 1,000 clients of UK tour operators.

Federation of Tour Operators director-general Andy Cooper said fewer than 200 FTO-member clients remained, the rest having flown home before the protest ended – most with Thai International Airways.

However, Cooper said: “It has been a struggle to get seats on carriers other than those that flew people out.”

A small proportion of independent travellers also managed to board rescue flights from Chiang Mai, Phuket and the military base at Utapao.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said 80 international flights a day would ferry tourists home.

She rejected criticism of Foreign Office efforts to help those stranded, saying: “We had a call centre set up within three hours and took 3,000 calls, the embassy was contactable 24 hours a day, our staff visited 500 people in their hotels and we had 60 staff assisting on the ground.”

The anti-government protest ended when a court deposed the prime minister and banned his party. However, further protests appear likely after what a leading Thai commentator called “a legal coup”.

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