Shopping Center Burns in Bangkok

May 19, 2010 -

Many parts of Bangkok are ablaze after the Thai army smashed the Red Shirts' protest and ordered a curfew across the capital.

Protesters set fire to the offices of a Channel 3 TV station in Bangkok, trapping 100 people inside.

Other parts of the city are also burning with fires at the Stock Exchange, several banks, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, and the upmarket Central World shopping mall, one of the biggest shopping centres in southeast Asia.

The trouble follows a deadly operation by the Thai army to break up the long-running anti-government protest, leaving three people dead, including an Italian journalist.

A 10-hour city-wide curfew, the first in 15 years, has been imposed until 6am Bangkok time with a news blackout also in operation.

The government initially said the capital was under army control but later backtracked saying fires were raging in 20 locations.

The army used armoured vehicles to punch into the protesters' fortified camp, smashing through tires, bamboo stakes and razor wire.

Gunfire rattled around the city's overpasses during several hours of street battles.