Following a massive clean-up of the capital Bangkok (photo, from aljazeera.net), Thai financial markets, government offices, and schools have re-opened.
The country just went through his worst political crisis in his modern history.
On Monday, Thailand’s stock exchange and other financial markets resumed full day trading after being closed on Thursday and Friday following a wave of arson and street battles when the army crack downed on thousands of anti-government protesters.
After starting skeleton service over the weekend, Bangkok’s metropolitan train services resumed full operations.
Although government offices and some schools also re-opened, a night curfew in the city and 23 provinces was still in place.
At least 15 people died in Wednesday’s military crackdown and ensuing riots, which brings the number of people who have died since the first violence flared on April 10 to 85.
District clean up
Nearly 100 people were left wounded by the violence, bringing to around 1,400 those who have been injured in the crisis.
In the city, about 40 buildings were set on fire and the tourism and retail sectors have been devastated by the crisis which started two months ago.
The Rachaprasong district, that the anti-government red shirt protesters occupied for weeks, was cleaned up on Sunday by thousands of municipal workers and volunteers, inclunding high school students.
Reporting from Bangkok, Al Jazeera’s Aela Callan said life did seem to be getting back to normal in the city, but residents were still in shock over the violence and there appeared a long way to go to reconciliation, with lots of red shirts and splinter groups calling for more protests outside Bangkok next month.
In a regular Sunday broadcast, prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whom the red shirts have been pressing to resign, said that he did not wish to stay for his full term, which lasts until 2012. However he did not confirm whether an earlier offer of a November election was still on the table.
“It is now up to me to decide whether that election is appropriate… I don’t know what is going to happen next as some people have vowed to continue their struggle, calling for the resumption of the protest in June,” Abhisit said.
The opposition Puea Thai party said it would bring a no-confidence motion against the government at a special session of parliament on Monday but the government is expected to easily defeat the motion.
On Monday, the government maintained economic growth projections for the year despite the most violent riots in modern history, as a stellar performance in the first quarter cancelled out the slowdown from the violence.
However, as trading resumed on Monday, the stock market dropped as much as 1.6 per cent, with analysts blaming increased political risk and the delayed effect of the euro zone crisis.
Warut Siwasariyanon, the head of research at Finansia Syrus Securities in Bangkok, said “investors may be temporarily relieved that a semblance of normalcy has returned but the political risk remains high and investors will likely be cautious”.
“The big underlying conflict is still there and the wound is deeper than ever even as the roads have been wiped clean,” he said.
Though the planning agency said the 2010 growth forecast was being maintained at 3.5-4.5 per cent, it added that the political crisis had dragged it down 1.5 percentage points.
On the quarter in the January-March period, the economy grew a strong 3.8 per cent, against market expectations of 1.8 per cent.