Thailand's foreign minister has refused to resign over charges relating to a crippling airport blockade by anti-government demonstrators in Bangkok last year, saying that he is "not a terrorist."
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya reported to a police station late Monday to hear charges filed by the Airports of Thailand (AOT) against the PAD leaders and other key PAD members including illegal assembly, invasion, breaches of aviation law and terrorism following the rallies by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
The foreign minister denied all of the allegations and will issue a statement concerning his denial to the police within the next 30 days, a senior Thai police officer said.
"I deny all charges. I joined the PAD bringing only my words and my pen -- I have no weapons. I was there (at the rallies) to exercise my rights according to the constitution and fight against the Thaksin regime," he said.
"They don't have evidence. There is no explanation about what they mean by terrorism. I didn't do anything wrong," he said when asked if would resign if the charges go to court.
The PAD is an ardent royalist group that helped topple tycoon Thaksin with mass rallies in 2006 and then took to the streets again last year to drive his allies out of government.
The police earlier said that Kasit and 35 leading members of the People's Alliance for Democracy (Pad), also known as the "Yellow Shirts", have been called in to answer charges over last year's blockade.
Their campaign peaked with the seizure of Bangkok's main Suvarnabhumi international and Don Mueang domestic airports, stranded more than 230,000 travellers and caused huge economic damage.
They abandoned the airport siege after the Constitutional Court disbanded the former ruling pro-Thaksin party in December. Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva won a parliamentary vote to become prime minister later that month.
Abhisit told parliament in January that if Kasit were charged "and there are good grounds" then he could no longer remain as foreign minister.
AFP, Thai minister rejects airport 'terrorist' charges , 8 July 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iRNFlH4e6a9TRdSJez-s4...
Al-Jazeera, Thai FM: I am being criminalised , 7 July 2009, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/07/20097510454278933...
AP, Thailand's FM reports to police over airport siege, 6 July 2009, http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gm7SUD5aMBbGN3Tiy2uOPImWVyQQD998UI200
Xinhua News, Thai FM denies all charges concerning airports' closure, 6 July 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/06/content_11662902.htm