Central World, East Asia’s second biggest shopping mall, is on fire after a series of Red Shirt arson attacks. The Red Shirts, also known as the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), set fire to the mall after a military crackdown. The AP has more:
An AP photographer saw rioters looting the mall, which is adjacent to the anti-government protest site cleared earlier Wednesday by troops. There was no apparent effort to bring the fire under control. It was one of multiple arson attacks in the city after the crackdown.
Local media quoted the city governor as saying he would not deploy firetrucks fearing they would be attacked.
National police spokesman Lieutenant General Pongsapat Pongcharoen said the first three floors of the multi-storey building had been gutted and that the fire continued to rage, though nobody was inside. The offices of TV station Channel 3 and the Siam Theatre cinema were also ablaze.
The fire department spokesman said many Bangkok Bank branches were on fire. The bank has been targeted in the past by anti-government protesters who suspect it of financing rival groups.
The Red Shirts claim that Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand’s Prime Minister, took power without popular consent. They want the Thai Parliament dissolved and a re-election held.
So they set fire to Thailand’s equivalent of the Mall of America, as well as several banks. I’m not sure whether stilting the local retail economy is the best way to promote change. But if attention is what they wanted, they have it.