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Bangkok gets back to business after protests

Thailand`s capital whirred back into life after last week`s deadly unrest.



Bangkok: Thailand`s capital whirred back into life on Monday after last week`s deadly unrest, as businesses and schools reopened and citizens returned to streets cleared of debris left by arson and looting.

Thoroughfares which for six weeks had been occupied by "Red Shirts" anti-government protesters, who established a fortified encampment in the top shopping district, were finally open to traffic.

Office workers returned to their jobs, children went to school and retailers rolled back shutters after the worst civil unrest in recent memory which since mid-March has left 88 dead and nearly 1,900 injured.

The Reds, who are campaigning for fresh elections to replace a government they condemn as illegitimate, disbanded last Wednesday in the face of a military offensive that forced their leaders to surrender.

Enraged militants within the movement went on a rampage of looting and arson that left 36 major buildings ablaze including the stock exchange and Thailand`s biggest mall, which now stands in ruins.

Downtown Bangkok was scrubbed clean over the weekend in a frenzied operation involving thousands of city workers wielding brooms and power houses, as well as enthusiastic volunteers including foreigners.

The embassies of Australia and Japan, located near the disbanded Reds encampment, reopened while the United States said it would resume full services at its mission on Tuesday.

"It`s very much back to normal, we`re trying to get things back together this week," said Kim Clarke, press officer for the British embassy.

New economic data said the Thai economy grew at a breakneck pace of 12 percent in the first quarter, but that the deadly unrest would clip the full-year growth forecast by 1.5 percentage points.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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