Thai authorities restored order over most of Bangkok on Thursday but the peace looked fragile, a day after rioting and fires that veered toward anarchy as troops took control of a camp occupied by anti-government protesters.
Thousands of the mostly rural and urban poor Red Shirt protesters had deserted their once-barricaded rally site in central Bangkok, but the tough crackdown and bloodshed raised fears of deepening anger among Thailand’s underclasses.
Modern Thailand has never seen such a protracted period of urban violence, deadly riots, clashes and widespread destruction, and has never teetered so close to full civil conflict.
Dozens of buildings were torched, including the stock exchange and Southeast Asia’s second-biggest department store. By morning, the worst was over; the protesters were gone.