Bangkok Buildings Burn as Troops Drive Out Protesters

Weeks long protests that have crippled Thailand‘s capital of Bangkok are nearing their end, as government troops stormed the Thai Red Shirt encampment late Wednesday. At least six people were killed in the military attack, which forced protesters to seek sanctuary at temple. Retreating protesters responded by burning more than two-dozen buildings, including the country’s stock exchange and one of the largest malls in Asia.

Several Red Shirt leaders have surrendered by early Thursday, but sporadic exchange of gunfire could still be heard across the Bangkok central business district, where some demonstrators are still holed up in abandoned buildings. The violent clashes have killed 45 people since May 13, when the military cut off the Red Shirt encampment in a final push to end the demonstrations that started in the middle of March.

While the protests are expected to conclude at least in the capital, there is no telling when the political division caused by the demonstrations will heal. This early, there are reports of unrest in the provinces, raising fears that the political crisis would spread across the country.