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Bangkok back to business -

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PETER CAVE: The mercurial nature of Thai politics is on display again today with the streets of
Bangkok returning to holiday mode after days of sometimes violent demonstrations.

While the Government has issued an arrest warrant for the fugitive former prime minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, three protest leaders have been detained in the capital.

ABC correspondent Geoff Thompson has been out on the streets of Bangkok this morning and he's
joined me on the line now.

Geoff, what are you seeing out there?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Well not a lot Peter. It's got to be said that this city is back to taking it easy
for their Songkran Thai New Year holiday.

I mean, even by last night what we saw, you know troops were opening fire just days ago, but by
last night there were people dancing in the streets and throwing water over passersby as they do to
mark the Thai New Year and it's really quite a sleepy scene here today, so things can change very,
very quickly here in Thailand.

PETER CAVE: Well indeed they do change quickly. How much damage has been done by these protests?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Look quite a lot. I mean, for instance just in the pure physical damage, we had 123
people injured. Of course two people died in clashed between protesters, not between the security
forces and 44 of the people injured were hospitalised and there was a tally that came in today that
52 busses were burned in total in and around the capital and 33 of those were government busses.

Now to the broader economy though, there are real worries that up to 200,000 people could be laid
off this year because the tourism industry here employs two million people, it counts for about six
or seven per cent of GDP. Now the weird thing again though is that things change so quickly that
you can see that, while shops aren't opening here because it's a holiday period, you know, the
tourists are feeling relaxed again.

You know one day there's violence, the next day things are back to normal.

PETER CAVE: If former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is actually arrested by Interpol, what
affect is that likely to have?

GEOFF THOMPSON: Oh look, the affect would be certainly to upset the red shirts, his supporters. In
terms of what it would actually do, I mean if he is extradited back here to Thailand to face
charges I think that, you know, in the long term it may go some way to the people again obeying the
law in this country.

I mean, part of the problem of course is that many people disagree with the original coup in 2006
which took Thaksin Shinawatra out of power, he was an overwhelmingly democratically elected leader
by a landslide twice and you know, I think most observers say that people from all sides have got
to start accounting for their misdeeds and follow the law.

Of course, we don't, no one seems to know exactly where Thaksin Shinawatra is and it probably won't
be believed until it's seen that he'll be brought to justice back in Thailand.

PETER CAVE: Three of the protest leaders have been detained in the capital, but no sign at this
stage of mass arrests. Do you think the Government is going to try for reconciliation?

GEOFF THOMPSON: I think that's certainly the message that's coming from Prime Minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva. He was saying last night that this should not be seen as a victory for any side, this is
a victory for society and look he was looking pretty bad as Thailand's new leader after just four
months in office on the weekend following the protesters overtaking the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya.

But he pulled off something of a diplomatic coup, if you like, by getting the army out in force and
getting the protesters to back down peacefully. But he's not trying to capitalise on that, he's
extending the Songkran holiday, let the country find its feet again.

There's no doubt though that violence is very much in danger of flaring again because the deep
division at the base of all this has not been healed.

PETER CAVE: Correspondent Geoff Thompson live there on the streets of Bangkok.