Monday, March 15, 2010

The Red Shirts

More than 100,000 protesters have taken to the streets in Bangkok in an effort to force the Thai leadership to resign.  Check out this video from


And from the New York Times report:

The relatively high turnout by protesters, who call themselves the Red Shirts, has underlined divisions in Thailand between the rural poor and the Bangkok establishment as well as the enduring popularity of the billionaire tycoon, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as prime minister in a 2006 military coup.

The strategy of the Red Shirts appears to be to disrupt the functioning of government for as long as possible in the hope that the prime minister blinks.

“It’s a game of chicken,” said Gothom Arya, director of research at Mahidol University in Bangkok. “They are saying, ‘We will bring you to the edge and see who falls first.’ ”

Prime Minister Abhisit had said that he would not agree to the protesters’ demand that he dissolve Parliament but said Monday that he was open to compromise.
It is not clear whether the protesters, who are mostly poor farmers, will have the resources to stage a long, drawn out protest.  But they appear to have invented a new repertoire of contention:
On Monday, the Red Shirts announced a new tactic in their quest to unseat the government, a plan to collect blood from protesters and splash it outside the prime minister’s office.

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