The Thai capital's main financial district was partially crippled Friday following deadly grenade attacks and a tense standoff between die-hard, anti-government demonstrators and a government that has yielded vital areas of Bangkok to them.
Many banks, offices, restaurants and a major shopping complex were closed along Silom Road, known as Thailand's Wall Street. Traffic was light in the normally jammed four-lane thoroughfare, and even many small-time food vendors had left their patches of pavement, The Associated Press reports.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva faces pressure to scatter the protesters and end a six-week occupation of Bangkok roads that threatens tourism. Abhisit, who called an emergency security meeting after the attacks, must weigh growing international scrutiny after a failed attempt to disperse them on April 10 left 25 dead and more than 800 injured.
Demonstration leader Jatuporn Prompan disputed the government’s claim, telling reporters today the projectiles came from an area outside their control. As many as 14,000 people rallied in the demonstration site this week, where they set up showers next to the Four Seasons Hotel and slept under advertisements for Prada and Louis Vuitton, Bloomberg says.