Curfew imposed in parts of Thailand

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A wounded man is carried out from Rama 4 in to Soi Ngam Duphli.

Authorities in Thailand have put around a third of the country, including the capital of Bangkok, under a curfew after leaders of the street protesters known as Red Shirts surrendered.

The curfew is the first in Bangkok in fifteen years, and is to run from 20.00 to 06.00 local time (13.00 to 23.00 UTC). As part of the curfew, only government-sanctioned media is to be allowed on television stations. The crackdown by the Thai government comes after army troops entered an area held by protesters and arrested six prominent rebel leaders.

At least six people are confirmed dead after Wednesday's violence, and military operations are expected to continue for at least another night. The government has also authorized security forces to shoot protesters. Around 40 people in total have been killed since the beginning of military operations against protesters last week.

A refuse vehicle lies burned out in the road after being set alight during the protests

Protesters have set fire to numerous buildings in Bangkok, and the violence has spread to other areas of the country. The second largest shopping center in Southeast Asia was destroyed by fire; Bangkok's stock exchange has been set ablaze. Several other buildings have been evacuated, including those of a state-run television company, Channel 3, which was later set on fire and destroyed, and two other English media companies.

Thailand's Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, said in an appearance on television that he was "confident and determined to end the problems and return the country to peace and order once again."

Ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who most protesters support, warned that the military crackdown could lead to open warfare in Thailand, saying that "[t]here is a theory saying a military crackdown can spread resentment and these resentful people will become guerrillas."


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