Thailand's military last night stepped into the battle between the government and protesters who have seized Bangkok's international airport, calling on the government to resign and the protesters to leave the occupied buildings.
However, Somchai Wongsawat, the prime minister, on television rejected the army's suggestion, saying the cabinet would meet today to discuss ways of dealing with the protests – which are threatening to spiral out of control round the country.
The prime minister, who threatened unspecified "measures" against the protests, said his government had been democratically elected and would work in the country's best interests in spite of claims by the People's Alliance for Democracy that it is a puppet of ousted leader, Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Somchai returned to Thailand yesterday from a summit in Peru and was forced to land at the northern city of Chiang Mai after protesters seized Suvarnabhumi Airport, the country's main international gateway, forcing its closure and stranding thousands of passengers.
The airport was still closed last night, although most of the passengers had managed to leave for hotels in Bangkok and elsewhere.