Two months of tension and violence ended with a whimper on Thursday as the last exhausted group of protesters filed out of a Buddhist temple where they had taken refuge, bewildered and frightened, some in tears.
Bangkok Is Tense as Order Returns (May 21, 2010) As they shuffled past a smear of blood on the ground that told of the recent fighting, a line of female police officers in black berets comforted them, touching their shoulders and murmuring: “Don’t be afraid. You’re safe now. Have a safe journey home.”
But it felt, on this morning after a political convulsion unlike anything anyone here has seen, that Thailand’s future was anything but safe.
“It was tragic,” said Anusart Suwanmongkol, a senator who supports the government. “Yesterday was the most tragic day in my memory, in Thai history. Nobody gained anything. Nobody won. The country lost.”
The clashes on Wednesday, along with four years of acrimonious political combat, have exposed rifts and resentments in Thailand that have smoldered under a surface of smiles and a virtue the Thais call “cool heart.”
The country’s divisions and enmities have only deepened. Nothing has been resolved. The battle for power between social classes and between the politicians who manipulate them continues.