El Al Suspends Flights to Bangkok in Wake of Riots

Protesters take over airport in Thai capital in escalation of campaign to oust prime minister.

Israel's national carrier El Al suspended its flights to Bangkok on Wednesday after protesters shut down the city's main airport in a major escalation of their four-month campaign to oust the prime minister.

With no resolution in sight, hundreds of passengers were ushered down stairs and escalators to waiting buses for transportation to area hotels. Others sprawled across suitcases, luggage carts and even security conveyor belts in largely unsuccessful attempts to sleep.

El Al said that until further notice all flights to Thailand will land in Pattaya Airport, some 100 kilometers north of the capital.

Among the 4,000 people stranded at the Bangkok airport were Americans trying to get home for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

Cheryl Turner, 63, of Scottsdale, Arizona, had asked neighbors to pull an 18-pound turkey from her freezer a day ahead of time to defrost so she could cook it for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

"My turkey is sitting in the sink at home," she said.

As tempers rose, yellow-clad protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy, known as the PAD, distributed flyers trying to explain their action.

The People's Alliance apologizes for any inconvenience the closure of the Suvarnabhumi Airport may cause to the public and international visitors to the kingdom of Thailand. But the alliance believes the measure is crucial to bring an end to the traitorous killer government, the flyer said.