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Thailand takes stock after day of violence

Thailand takes stock after day of violence
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Dawn broke over a quiet but smoke filled central Bangkok as the capital emerged from a night-time curfew in the wake of yesterday’s military crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Fires continued to burn, one destroyed Asia’s second biggest department store before the troops moved in.

The army had used live ammunition – seven people died in the clashes with another 60 wounded -witnesses say up to nine bodies have been found in a temple where many protesters had sought sanctuary.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva appeared on television to offer reassurance and to tell the people his government would put an end to the problems.

Wednesday’s unrest has been described as the most widespread and most uncontrollable political violence Thailand has ever seen.

And it spread beyond the capital to provinces up north.

With several of the Red-shirt leaders arrested it is now unclear if the protests will continue.
There is still much anger among Thailand’s rural poor who want rid of their non- elected government and are calling for fresh elections.

But further unrest would suggest a new phase in the country’s political crisis and even greater damage to one of Asia’s most thriving economies.