BANGKOK — Armed with brooms, rubber gloves and a torrent of detergent, middle-class Thais took to the streets of central Bangkok on Sunday to remove the detritus of protests, reclaiming the city from their now-banished and despised “red shirt” country cousins.
The cleanup crew scoured anti-government graffiti off walls and swept streets clean of reminders of a nine-week protest movement that ended Wednesday in a blaze of bullets and flaming buildings.
The cleansing was also symbolic: a final purge of a red shirt occupation that had brought rice farmers and ill-shod residents of Bangkok’s slums to the city’s most upscale shopping district to press demands that the government step down and hold early elections.
“They wanted to destroy my city. I’m glad they’re gone,” said Maliga Agsombon, owner of a yoga health club.