Belfast Telegraph

Monday 3 August 2015

Thai government reclaims control

Published 21/05/2010 | 01:22

Thai police escort Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua to a station (AP)
Thai police escort Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua to a station (AP)
Thai soldiers ride through an area formerly held by anti-government protestors in Bangkok (AP)
Smoke behind the main Chulalongkorn hospital in Bangkok (AP)
A soldier stands guard Rama 4 Road on May 20, 2010 in Bangkok
Smoke rises from the fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall
A firefighter stands inside the burned out movie theater in Siam center burned by redshirt protesters
Steel belts are gathered by a collector along Rama 4 Road on May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
Smoke rises from the fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall, attacked by redshirt protesters venting their anger against the government
A firefighter works to control the fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall
Smoke rises from the fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall, attacked by redshirt protesters venting their anger against the government
Smoke rises from the fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall
An advertisement is displayed as smoke rises from a fire that burned all night at CentralWorld shopping mall
Rama 4 Road on May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
Anti-government protester 'Red Shirt' carries an infant as he surrenders at Thai Police Headquarters on May 20, 2010 in Bangkok
A Thai soldier scans the sky as troops move into the main rally site of anti-government red shirt protesters
An anti-government protestor piles tires on a fire at a shopping center Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Downtown Bangkok became a raging battleground Wednesday as the army stormed a barricaded protest camp and the Red Shirt leadership surrendered, enraging demonstrators who fired grenades and set fires that cloaked the skyline in a black haze. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A fire started by red shirt anti-government protesters blazes through the Central World Shopping Mall after Thai military forces dispersed the protesters
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY19: Downtown Bangkok burns after redshirts set fire to many building showing their anger against the government May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The operation was to finally get the protesters out after a six week takeover of Bangkok's major shopping district. So far today's attack killed five and over 64 were injured as the redshirts finally surrendered to the authorities. Many redshirts went onto set fire to buildings as Bangkok burns. As of today 70 have been killed in over six weeks. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Red shirt protester carries his belonging inside the devastated red shirt camp as a fire burn at the Central World Shopping Mall on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces attempted to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade following a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Red shirt protester carries his belonging inside the devastated red shirt camp as a fire burn at the Central World Shopping Mall on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces attempted to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade following a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Thai National Flag is seen inside the devastated red shirt camp as a fire burns at the Central World Shopping Mall on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces attempted to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade following a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY19: A redshirt protester lays dead shot by the military inside the red shirt camp May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The operation was to finally get the protesters out after a six week takeover of Bangkok's major shopping district. So far today's attack killed five and over 64 were injured as the redshirts finally surrendered to the authorities. Many redshirts went onto set fire to buildings as Bangkok burns. As of today 70 have been killed in over six weeks. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY19: Thai soldiers start the early morning attack on the red shirt camp May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A sniper monitor movement during a clashes on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The operation was to finally get the protesters out after a six week takeover of Bangkok's major shopping district. So far today's attack killed five and over 64 were injured as the redshirts finally surrendered to the authorities. Many redshirts went onto set fire to buildings as Bangkok burns. As of today 70 have been killed in over six weeks.(Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Members of the Thai military attempt to extinguish fires started by red shirt anti-government protesters venting their anger against the government on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A red shirt anti-government protester sits down on a chair at the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp after Thai military forces dispersed protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A fire started by red shirt anti-government protesters blazes through the Central World Shopping Mall after Thai military forces dispersed the protesters from their encampment on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces attempted to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade following a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Empty chairs are seen inside the devastated red shirt camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A soldier stands guard after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Scene from the empty redshirt camp after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A red shirt anti-government protester sits alone after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A lone red shirt anti-government protester carries her belongings after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
Thai soldiers patrol past a burnt toilette truck and pile of garbage in an area formerly held by anti-government protestors Thursday, May 20, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Firemen hose down remaining cinders at the site of a massive arson attack, Thursday, May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Thai soldiers patrol past a burnt toilette truck and pile of garbage in an area formerly held by anti-government protestors Thursday, May 20, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Firemen hose down remaining cinders at the site of a massive arson attack, Thursday, May 20, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Buildings smoldered across central Bangkok early Thursday and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand's deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A lone red shirt anti-government protester carries her belongings after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A red shirt anti-government protester sits alone after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Scene from the empty redshirt camp after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A soldier stands guard after Thai military forces cleared the main rally site inside the red shirt anti-government protesters' camp on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. At least 5 people are reported to have died as government forces sought to overrun barricades raised in and around the city centre by anti-government protestors. Red-shirt leaders have now surrendered, ending their blockade in the aftermath of a sixth day of violence, leaving the army in control and a night time curfew to be imposed. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
Thai soldiers ride through an area formerly held by anti-government protestors in Bangkok (AP)
Smoke behind the main Chulalongkorn hospital in Bangkok (AP)
Thai police escort Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua to a station (AP)
Thai soldiers take up positions across from an anti-government barricade
An anti-government protestor lies on the ground Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand. The circumstances of the death were unknown. The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gun fire has occurred.
Thai soldiers rush an anti-government barricade near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010.
An anti-government demonstrator takes off his clothes against Thai soldiers in downtown bangkok, Thailand, Friday, May 14, 2010.
Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes.
Journalists lie down and take cover during a gun battle between Thai army and anti-government protesters at Lumpini park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Seven leaders of Thailand's Red Shirt protesters have surrendered to authorities after a deadly army assault on their fortified encampment.
An injured Thai soldier is carried away near a barricade created by anti-government protesters, Wednesday, May 19, 2010
The hand of a dead anti-government protestors is seen through red cloth Wednesday, May 19, 2010, in Lumpini Park near downtown Bangkok, Thailand. The circumstances of the death were unknown. The body was left at a protest site which has been the scene of intense nightly gunfire has occurred. Thai soldiers continue to move on anti-government demonstrators in a crackdown that seeks to end the two month long standoff.
A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces
Firefighters work to control burning tyres set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
Thai soldiers run behind armored personnel carriers near Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
Firemen douse a fire at a barricade of Lumpini Park put up by anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Thai troops opened fire Wednesday into the fortified encampment of anti-government protesters in downtown Bangkok, ramming armored vehicles into its tire-and-bamboo barricade in what appears to be a final crackdown after a week of deadly clashes. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)
An anti-government barricade is seen moments after being crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
An anti-government protesters' barricade is crushed by an armored personnel carrier at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 19, 2010. Two Thai armored vehicles have toppled the tire-and-bamboo barricade of an encampment where anti-protesters are holed up in downtown Bangkok. (AP Photo/David Longstreath)
A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Thai armoured personnel carrier breaks down a barricade made by Anti-government protesters 'Red Shirt', on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Smoke rises from burning tyres near a hospital on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
Anti-government protesters on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a large firecracker over a barricade
A Thai anti-government red shirt protester hurls a firecracker over a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Rama 4 Road, a normally busy Bangkok street, is nearly devoid of traffic at rush hour on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai military has blockaded much of central Bangkok and protesters have set up their own barricades in parts on the city.Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
Thai police officers arrive at the edge of Victory Monument intersection to disperse protesters and remove a fire road block, Monday, May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's Red Shirts offered peace talks Monday to end raging street battles in Bangkok as a government deadline demanding the demonstrators vacate a protest zone passed without capitulation. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: A Thai anti-government red shirt protester lets out a sigh as he watches people move tyres to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester holds home made explosives as he stands behind a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester sprints past a barricade during clashes on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester kicks a tyre down the street to be used to extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Thai anti-government red shirt protesters rest near the stage of their main rally site on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY17: A Red shirt protesters throws a molotov cocktail into flames May 17, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. So far in clashes atleast 260 have been injured and over 37 killed as the military and the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for two months. There is a state of emergency in effect that spreads to 17 provinces in the country. The Thai army declared certain protest areas where clashes are taking place a "Live Fire Zone". (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester throws a molotov cocktail on to burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Firefighters work to control a blaze started by anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Firefighters work to control a blaze set by Thai anti-government red shirt protesters on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: A Thai armoured personnel carrier (APC) is seen on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take cover behind a thai armoured personnel during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 19: Thai Security forces take position during a clash with protesters on May 19, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for six consecutive days in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
A red shirt anti-government protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces
An anti-government red shirt protester
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester walks past burning tyres on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester runs across burning tires on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: An anti-government red shirt protester fires a slingshot towards Thai security forces on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Anti-government red shirt protesters take cover behind a fence on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Thai anti-government red shirt protesters place more tyres on a fire as they extend their barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: Anti-government red shirt protesters look over a barricade towards a military position as their fellow protesters attempt to return an oil truck to a nearby petrol station on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 18: A Thai anti-government red shirt protester wears a Buddha amulet while manning a barricade on May 18, 2010 in Bangkok, Thailand. Protesters have clashed with military forces for five consecutive day in Bangkok after the government launched an operation to disperse anti-government protesters who have closed parts of the city for more than two months. Despite calls from the United Nations for both sides to begin talks, anti-government protesters in Bangkok have defied orders to leave their fortified camp, with 37 people having died and more than 260 injured since the military began its crackdown. (Photo by Getty Images)

Fears are growing that the tentative quiet restored to Thailand's capital after a bloody crackdown on protests may just be a respite from violence and political polarisation that could continue for years.

As soldiers mop up pockets of resistance across Bangkok, the Thai government declared it had mostly quelled 10 weeks of violent protests in the city's main commercial district which left 15 people dead and nearly 100 injured.

Troops roamed the city and exchanged gunfire with scattered Red Shirt protesters, who fought near the city's Victory Monument and torched a bank, bringing the number of buildings set aflame to 40 after the military push sent the protesters retreating from their demonstration site.

The protesters, demanding elections, had fortified themselves behind tire-and-bamboo-spike barricades, and leaders of the anti-government Red Shirt movement vowed a return as they were taken into custody.

Kevin Hewison, a Thailand expert at the University of North Carolina, said: "I think this is a new beginning for the Red Shirts. It will be a darker and grimmer time of struggle and less-focused activities. By no stretch of the imagination is the movement finished."

With some torched buildings still smouldering, Thailand's finance ministry estimated the economic damage to the country at 50 billion baht (£1.06 billion) and continued security concerns led officials to extend a night-time curfew in Bangkok and 23 other provinces for three more days.

Even so, army spokesman Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government was in charge, adding: "Overall, we have the situation under control."

With military checkpoints closing, city workers removed debris and collected piles of garbage left in the streets and residents in protest areas were able to leave home to shop as electricity was restored in many areas. But many of those who ventured into the streets were still deeply shaken by the violence.

By late on Thursday, authorities had taken most of the senior Red Shirt leaders into custody. Three surrendered after five others gave themselves up the previous day and were flown to a military camp south of Bangkok for interrogation.

The Red Shirts had demanded the ousting of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's government and new elections. The protesters, many of them poor farmers or members of the urban underclass, say Abhisit came to power illegitimately and is oblivious to their plight.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph