THAI PM ABHISIT SAYS COUNTRY UNDER CONTROL AFTER UNREST

By NBF News
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Abhisit Vejjajiva: “There are huge challenges ahead of us”

Thai PM Abhisit Vejjajiva says order has been restored to the capital Bangkok and throughout the country.

Mr Abhisit said the government would “move swiftly to restore normalcy” following a week of violence which left more than 50 people dead.

In a televised address he said reconciliation efforts would continue to address political divisions.

Violence broke out last week as the army moved in to end a lengthy anti-government protest.

Mr Abhisit said he recognised there were “huge challenges” now facing his government, “particularly the challenge of overcoming the divisions that have occurred in this country”.

He said an independent investigation would take place into “all events” surrounding the violence.

ANALYSIS
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Vaudine England BBC News, Bangkok
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is personally under an immense amount of pressure. This comes both from members of his government and related institutions, and from Thais seeking a way out of a deadly and damaging political trauma.

Smouldering ruins in the centre of town, a high death toll, the fear of more violence, and uncertainty about the political future will require more than words.

But Mr Abhisit appears keen to show he remains in charge for the moment

The latest violence broke out on Wednesday, as the army stormed the barricaded encampment in the centre of Bangkok where the protesters, known as red-shirts, had been protesting since March.

They were demanding the resignation of Mr Abhisit, saying his government came to power illegitimately.

At least 15 people died in street fighting following the attempt to remove the camp.

Buildings including banks, the stock exchange and the vast Central World shopping centre were set on fire.

Smaller protests were also reported in northern provinces of the country.

Mr Abhisit said the violence was “one of the worst episodes Thailand has ever faced”.

Most of the protesters – many of whom came from rural provinces in the north – have now been bussed home but there are concerns some hard-core elements could still in the capital.

A night-time curfew remains in place in Bangkok and 23 provinces in a bid to prevent a resurgence of unrest.