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Govt troops quell Thai protesters

By The Assam Tribune

BANGKOK, May 20 � Buildings smouldered across central Bangkok today and troops exchanged sporadic fire with pockets of holdouts a day after the army routed anti-government protesters in a push to end Thailand�s deadliest political violence in nearly 20 years.

Although the government quelled most of the violence in the battered Thai capital, it announced that a night-time curfew had been extended in Bangkok and 23 other provinces for three more days.

�Overall, we have the situation under control,� army spokesman Col Sansern Kawekamnerd said.

A major military operation the day before, in which at least seven people were killed and 88 wounded, was largely successful, but underlying political divisions that caused Thailand�s crisis may have been exacerbated, and unrest spread to provinces in the north and northeast.

Bangkok�s skyline overnight was blotted by flashes of fire and black smoke from more than three dozen buildings set ablaze including Thailand�s stock exchange, main power company, banks, a movie theatre and one of Asia�s largest shopping malls.

The government described the mayhem as �an organised crime. It is terrorism.� Sansern, who said 122 police and army units were involved in the operation, said authorities found a cache of explosives and assault rifles during their sweep against the Red Shirts. � AP

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