They promised it and they have delivered it. The red shirts ( supporters of the former PM ) have finally come out in the thousands and thronged Bangkok to ask for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the dissolution of the parliament. Though the estimated number of protesters varies from different sources but everyone agrees that the number is very far short from the 1 million number which the leaders of the group were boasting about before this. Most of these protestors are from the poor north eastern region of Thailand. Like all poor people in other countries, they want to see real and direct changes at their doorsteps ( which is understandable ), they don't care about the economy nor corruption and sadly are easily manipulated by certain quarters who are after their own agendas. It was reported that while these poor souls are braving the hot weather, their time and later sacrificing their blood for this, their main leader was dining at post restaurants and staying at 5 star hotels in another country. He was reportedly last seen in Montenegro but was heading to Dubai now. I am not Thai and would like to stay impartial on their politics but i think Thais should give chance to their government to prove itself. Two years ago, supporters of the present government "hijacked" the main airport in Bangkok and now another group of peoples are creating havoc in the city. Thailand has long history of changing government in a short period. No government will be able to perform well under this kind of instability. I hope the present PM will not succumb to the protesters demands otherwise this cycle of protest will continue, only by different groups.
Protesters mostly from northern Thailand come in drove for the protest by buses, by trucks and even by boats.
At the height of the protest in Bangkok
Monk blessing protestors
Supporters in the city ( minimal ) choose to cheer the protestors from the side.
It's carnival time for these ladies. It's good that they are bringing festive atmosphere to the protest to prevent the crowd from going unruly. There have been evidence that protesters are paid quie well to take part in this demonstration, understandly for their transportation, food and their time. If not paid, i wonder how many of them would actually or could afford to come down to the capital for the protest.
The video where protestors received cash from organisers
As promised, monks also join in the protest. Monks should stay in their temples not out on the street participating in demonstration. They should stay away from secular world politics.
The plan of this mass protest was made known weeks ahead but one part of it which has never been revealed is the blood donation. On the 1st day of the official demonstration, only it was announced that the protesters were going to donate their blood and the blood collected would be used to splash on government buildings around Bangkok. This is really sickening. If they really wanted to use blood as a symbolic protest, they could always go to slaugther houses and get blood from chickens, pigs or cows or best still just use red paint. They don't have to resort to human blood. The risks of contamination is high eventhough the organiser are using new syringes for each donor. I hope this act does not set a precedent for protestors in other countries to follow in the future.
Preparing for the mass blood donation. The blood will be collected in 5 litres bottles and mixed with anti-coagulant before being used to spill on government buildings.
These people are queuing up to have their blood "thrown" away. Most of them are blue collar workers and farmers who have worked hard for their "blood" but choose to dispose their hard "earned blood" in such a wasteful manner.
Even monks are not left out. Is this an act to gain merit ?
This 11 year old was one of the earliest to donate blood. Eventhough i am not a doctor, but i know drawing blood from a children for donation purposes is against medical ethics.All medical personnels who do this should be sacked from wherever they work. Would they do that if the children were their own child ? I highly doubt they would.
This man holds a number of vials containing the collected blood. This blood could saves many lives if donated to hospitals but .......
... and these men are carrying not vials but bottles of human blood, this is sickening
This is where the blood ends up. The first bottle of blood was splashed on the gate of Government House at 5.00pm ( 16th March ) and about an hour later the building of the ruling party was targeted. The next target would be the official residence of the PM , on the 17th March. A few weeks ago, someone threw human faeces into the garden of the PM residence and now it's blood of poor people.
Fortunately so far there was no violence. Both police and army are showing restraint and avoid confrontation with protestors. Three representatives from the army drew giggles from the demonstrators by giving light hearted speech and jokes in front of the an army based yesterday. They told the protestors that the army respect the democratic rights of the people to protest but at the same time, protestors should also restraint themselves as any violence would mean they ( the protestors ) are confronting their own children. Most of the soldiers and police are from the poor province in northern Thailand where many of the protesters come from.
By 9.15am today ( March 17 ), 2000 protesters have already gathered near the official residence of the PM. They arrived on motorcycles and pick-up trucks to pour their pooled blood in front of Abhisit's house. However the total number of protestors in the city have dwindled, many have returned to their provinces. After splashing about 6 gallons of blood on PM's residence, the thousands of protesters headed to US Embassy, accusing the American intelligence officials of bugging the former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra. The rumor of American intercepting phone calls by the former PM first appeared yesterday after the current Deputy PM told reporters that foreign intelligence had warned of violence. Though he did not mention the source country of the intelligence, Thai press and Red shirt leaders believe it was the US. The protesters left the US embassy after meeting the embassy officials.
Protestors gather peacefully in front of the US Embasy
Former PM, Thaksin have been addressing his supporters via video conference even before the protest started. His latest video is rather hilarious. Sensing that many of the protestors have returned home, he accuses the government of bribing the protesters to return home ( it was his people who pay the people to protest - from the above video ) and poisoning the drinking water of the protestors ( so that they get diarrhea ), he claims that the current PM, Abhisit has mental disorder just like Adolf Hitler and has tendency to become violent and last but not least he says Abhisit is always surrounded by homosexuals with emotional problems. All these statements are funny and in a way are actually describing himself not the PM.
Protesters have given their blood, tired of eating and sleeping in the open air and basically are exhausted. Many have returned home to resume their normal lives and more are expected to follow suit in a day or two. Looks like, the protestors have failed in their mission. People want stability in the country. Investors reward this stability ( no dissolution of parliament) by pushing the Thai stock market to a 19 month high today.
Latest update : The next tactic of the red is to drive around Bangkok to deliberately discrupt traffic flows and cause congestion in the city on this Saturday ( March 20 ).