Thai authorities restored order in Bangkok on Thursday but a ceasefire looked fragile, a day after rioting and fires that veered towards anarchy as troops took control of a camp occupied by anti-government protesters.
The mostly rural and urban poor “Red Shirt” protesters had deserted their once-barricaded rally site in Bangkok. Hundreds who had taken refuge in a temple were coaxed out by police. Six bodies were found inside.
“Democracy cannot be built on revenge and anger,” Veera Musikapong, chairman of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, known as the Red Shirts, said in a televised statement while in custody, calling on protesters to go home.
The unrest has hammered Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry.
A source at state planning agency National Economic and Social Development Board said the economic impact of nine weeks of political turmoil and rioting would easily cost $3 billion, or about one percentage point of gross domestic product.