Bloody Politics

Between the two, I am pro-Red Shirts by default as the Yellow Shirts or People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is a bigger thuggish hypocritical farce that protested en masse whenever Thaksin affiliates won the Thai elections after Thaksin was driven out of the country in 2006. Furthermore, who can forget the infamous Suvarnabhumi International Airport sit-in by the PAD rabble who wanted to kick out Thai PM Somchai, who was by the way democratically elected in as his PPP had widespread TRT and therefore rural support.

However, the Red Shirt’s latest street protest and plan on throwing their own blood at government buildings is a bit excessively dramatic and even unhygienic. The Red Shirts did assure that the vandalism would be done clinically and properly, but it would be bloody messy nonetheless. Meanwhile, Thai PM Abhisit has wisely escaped the blood ritual and is now taking refuge in another army camp while trying to give the impression that everything is under control despite the threat of sustained Red Shirt disturbance. In the coming days and possibly weeks if the Red Shirts have the stamina, will the Red Shirts resort to ochlocracy like what the PAD did?

Thailand’s red-shirt demonstrators are donating blood to throw at government offices in a symbolic protest against a leadership they say is illegitimate.
09:20 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

The protests are now in their third day, in a jovial but determined mood.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday rejected a demand from protesters to quit and call elections.

The stand-off is the latest in a deep political schism in the country linked to the 2006 military coup which deposed former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

Tens of thousands of security forces remain on standby and army leaders say they plan to be flexible and gentle with the demonstrators as their protests continue.

Local newspapers have reported that protests were also being held in several northern provinces to coincide with the Bangkok actions.

In Bangkok, red-shirt leader Veera Musikapong was the first to donate.

“This blood is a sacrificial offering. To show our love for the nation, to show our sincerity,” he said.

He and other leaders said their blood would be spilled at the entrance to Government House in Bangkok’s historic quarter later in the day if Mr Abhisit continued to refuse their demands to dissolve parliament.

“If Abhisit is still stubborn, even though he does not have blood on his hands, his feet will be bloodied with our curses,” another leader, Nattawut Saikur, said.

Health officials, the Red Cross and even the protesters’ figurehead, Mr Thaksin, have expressed concern about how hygienic the mass blood donation is.

But the protesters, including several monks, brushed off the concerns.

“We have three tents for blood donations. All people who conduct the blood drawing will be doctors, nurses or other qualified people who came here voluntarily,” said senior red shirt leader, Dr Weng Tojilakarn, who normally runs his own medical practice.

The red-shirts have set a target of collecting 1,000 litres of blood, and say they will guard against any protester getting weak or dizzy in the heat.

For its part, the government remains quiet on the sidelines.

A cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday appears to have been cancelled, and calls from members of Mr Abhisit’s coalition for a parliamentary hearing have been ignored.

Mr Abhisit, meanwhile, said the government was making every effort to avoid confrontation.

“I want to insist that there was an attempt to create conflict and the government has proved that it will not use violent means against the protesters,” he said.

“The symbolic event they are talking about is bloodshed, but that is not correct. It is not as if the government is trying to use violence to create bloodshed, it’s not the case at all.”

The protest, led by red-shirted supporters of Mr Thaksin has been one of the largest in recent years, although the BBC’s Rachel Harvey, at the scene, says the numbers appear to be dwindling.

The protesters say the present government was installed illegally after Mr Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006, and two subsequent allied governments were deposed by court action.

On Sunday they held a mass rally in central Bangkok. They are now camped out around Government House.

2006: Yellow-shirts launch street protests to oust PM Thaksin Shinawatra
Sept 2006: Thaksin ousted in military coup
Dec 2007: Thaksin allies win first post-coup elections
Sept 2008: Yellow-shirts occupy Bangkok government buildings, clash with pro-Thaksin red-shirts
Nov 2008: Yellow-shirts occupy Bangkok’s airports, forcing cancellation of hundreds of flights
Dec 2008: Thaksin-allied government falls, rival Abhisit Vejjajiva forms government
Apr 2009: Red-shirts storm Asean summit, clashes erupt in Bangkok
Mar 2010: Red-shirts launch protest aimed at bringing government down

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