Political turmoil in Thailand
Thailand protests have literally turned bloody as litres of protestors blood was splattered on the government compound in Bangkok on March 16.
The blood, which was donated, was said to represent a symbolic sacrifice by the protestors to their cause.
On March 17, bags of blood were hurled into the president’s compound and around his house. Protest leaders say they gathered 600 litres of blood, enough to fill 10 bathtubs.
The demonstrations in Bangkok have been ongoing since March 14, with the biggest protest on the 16, the day of the blood spilling.
Approximately 100,000 to 150,000 protestors were said to have gathered, with the majority now having returned home.
The protests are being held by the red shirts, a group that supports former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Shinawatra was ousted in 2006 during a military coup and replaced by current Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The red shirts say that Vejjajiva came to power illegally with the backing of the military and Bangkok elites. Thaksin is now living in self-imposed exile in Montenegro after being ousted from power.
The protestors plan to rally until Vejjajiva calls for free, democratic elections. The red shirt movement, led by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) has planned another massive protest in Bangkok this weekend.
In response, the Thai government has approximately 40,000 personnel ready to react if the protest turns violent. Almost one year ago, two people died and dozens were injured in similar protests. So far the protests have been relatively peaceful.
On March 9, the government invoked the Internal Security Act that gives the Thai military power to impose curfews and restrict numbers at gatherings. The military has also set up checkpoints on the roads into Bangkok in anticipation of the large protest Sunday.
Called a symbolic sacrifice for democracy, many are dismissing the blood spilling as a public relations stunt, whereas others are calling it magic, saying it will put a curse on the government. Health workers are upset at the waste of a precious resource, and some are merely squeamish at the sight of blood running through the streets.
The streets of Bangkok now remain relatively quiet and many question whether or not Sunday’s planned protest will be very substantial – however, approximately 40,000 protestors still remain in the capital.
Although the blood spilling remains a questionable tactic, it is one that has drawn international attention to the tumultuous situation brewing within Thai borders.