Accessibility links

Bangkok, Thai Provinces Emerging from Curfew

  • David Dyar

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, is emerging from an overnight curfew, as officials assess the damage left by riots and a string of arson attacks Wednesday.

The Thai stock exchange, among the locations set ablaze, is closed Thursday and Friday, and the Bank of Thailand has declared a bank holiday for those two days.

Despite a call for surrender by leaders of the anti-government Red Shirt movement, protesters set at least 17 locations ablaze in Wednesday's violence. At least six people died.

The rioting began after Thai soldiers used armored vehicles to smash through the makeshift bamboo-and-tire barricades the protesters had erected around their base. Troops opened fire on the protesters to drive them out of the encampment.

Along with the capital, at least 23 provinces were put under curfew Wednesday night. Television stations ran only government programming, and security forces were instructed to open fire on anyone attempting to loot or set fires.

View report on Wednesday's violence in Bangkok shot by VOA Brian Padden

The violence also spread outside the capital, with arson attacks on government buildings in the northeastern cities of Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

The French news agency reported bombs were thrown in the city of Chiang Mai.

Leaders of the Red Shirts told followers Wednesday they were ending their demonstrations in order to avoid further bloodshed. Several turned themselves in to police.

Also Wednesday, Prime Minister Vejjajiva Abhisit attempted to reassure the nation that his government will overcome the political turmoil.

The protesters, many of whom support the deposed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, want Mr. Abhisit to step down and call new elections.

At least 74 people have been killed and at least 1,700 others wounded since the Red Shirts began their demonstrations in Bangkok in March.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.