Troops clear protest area vacated after clash

? Thai troops cleared the gutted remains of armored carriers today after anti-government protesters vacated the site of last week’s bloody clashes and shifted to an upscale shopping district to intensify their campaign to oust the prime minister.

The Red Shirt protesters vow their new encampment in the Ratchaprasong shopping area will be the final battlefront in their bid to have Parliament dissolved and new elections held.

The crisis has deeply divided this Southeast Asian nation into color-coded factions, threatening to sink an economy that had recently started to revive. The Red Shirts are bitterly opposed by the Yellow Shirts, who support the government but have over the past few months stayed on the sidelines. Another group, the Pink Shirts, emerged recently through an Internet campaign by mainly urban professionals, who say they just want peace.