Bangkok begins cleanup

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Thousands of Thais launched a massive cleanup operation in Bangkok’s charred commercial district on Sunday as the city prepared for the resumption of business after the worst riots in modern history.

Thailand’s stock exchange and other financial markets will resume full-day trading on Monday, after being closed on Thursday and Friday following a wave of arson and street battles when the Army dispersed thousands of anti-government protesters.
“Our trading system and those of our members are ready to resume operations,” Stock Exchange of Thailand President Patareeya Benjapolchai said in a statement.
Government offices and schools are also scheduled to reopen on Monday, but a curfew in the city and 23 provinces was extended on Sunday for two more nights.
At least 54 people were killed and more than 400 injured in the latest bout of violence which began on May 14.
Almost 40 buildings in the city were set on fire and the tourism and retail sectors have been devastated.
There has been little violence since the rioting ended on Thursday but the police said a gunman fired pistol shots at a bank building in the city’s suburbs in the early hours of Sunday.
Glass doors were shattered but there were no casualties and it appeared to be an isolated incident, an official said.
Otherwise, the city of 15 million looked eager for normal business to resume. At the charred protest site in Bangkok’s Rachaprasong district which the Red Shirt protesters had occupied, thousands of Bangkok residents armed with straw brooms, plastic gloves, garbage bags and face masks, poured in after the Army declared it clear of home-made bombs and other dangerous material.
Many used kitchen scourers and razor knives to remove anti-government posters and graffiti.
Others carted away rubbish left by the protesters. “We love Thailand, we love Bangkok. We will try and take back our city today,” said teacher Tor as she led a group of students in the cleanup. —Reuters

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