A third of Thailand spent the night under curfew after an arson and looting attack destroyed at least 27 buildings in Bangkok’s premier district while most demonstrators dispersed from the Red Shirt encampment. The work of militant protesters, some of the buildings set ablaze include Central World, one of Southeast Asia's largest shopping centres, the Stock Exchange of Thailand, a downtown cinema, many banks and a television station.
The violent protests also spread to surrounding provinces, with people in Chiang Mai attempting to burn buildings and throw home-made bombs after the Bangkok protests ended. The situation is now reported to be under control.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has been under enormous pressure to end the crippling standoff, promises to "get through" the crisis and return peace to the country.
The Thai crisis has left at least 75 people dead and about 1,700 wounded since mid-March, including 25 people who died in a failed army crackdown on April 10.
Arson, Looting in Bangkok After Protest Crackdown [ChannelNewsAsia, 19 May 2010]
Curfew in Bangkok After Surrender of Red-Shirt Leaders [BBC News, 19 May 2010]