Friday, March 19, 2010
Thai Protests Red Shirts and Thaksin
Though the anti-government rally held by ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s red-shirted protesters may have ended, it shouldn’t be dismissed as a failure as the movement has the opportunity to become a credible political force
What's changed in the week since the mostly rural supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra began their "million man march" into Bangkok?
Thaksin's red-shirted protesters, vilified as a thuggish mob after their street insurrection in Bangkok nearly a year ago, have won some credibility as a non-violent political movement that is in the fray for the long haul.
The "red shirts", trying to force Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call an early election, splattered litres of their own blood outside his residence on Wednesday in a dramatic demonstration to show their "sacrifice for democracy".
But the public relations stunt, which drew howls of outrage from public heath professionals, put them no closer to polls that must be held by the end of next year.
They are well placed to win any election anyway -- Thaksin-affiliated parties have won every election in the past decade -- and that could herald deep change for Southeast Asia's second biggest economy and its recent surge of investors.