Thailand's official Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Thursday extended the night-time curfew in Bangkok and some provinces by three days.

The aim was to “stabilise” law-and-order across the country in the wake of the arsonist rampage that followed Wednesday's fiery crackdown on protesters in Bangkok's commercial hub.

The military and civilian leaders defended the security operations and blamed “armed terrorist elements” among the protesters for the killings at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok shortly before Wednesday's curfew. By an official count, at least seven people were killed and 88 injured there. There was, however, no firm estimate of the death toll and injuries in the intermittent clashes between the protesters and security forces in their two-month-long standoff.

Asserting that troops and police were not at the temple at the time of the massacre there, an Army spokesman said bodies were later found near a Red Cross tent in the precincts. While details of that incident were not yet clear, some arsonists were arrested for the destruction of government and private buildings and shopping malls, he said. And, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vimon Kidchob said the security forces exercised “utmost restraint” and did not fire live ammunition at unarmed protesters.

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