Thailand’s ‘Red-shirt’ movement are giving blood to throw at government offices in protest at what they say is the illegitimate leadership of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
Thousands of supporters of former premier, Thaksin Shinwatra, have camped out in Bangkok to urge Abhisit to call fresh elections.
“This peaceful protest uses our own blood not the blood of others,” said Jatuporn Prompan, the leader of the Red Shirts. “It’s better to use peaceful means than resort to violence.”
Protesters say Abshit is a military puppet with no legitimate right to lead. He formed his government in December 2008 without going to the polls, two years after an army-led coup ousted Thaksin.
Yet the Thai premier is defiant, refusing to meet their demands. He described the rally as “an attempt to create conflict” and pointed to the restraint shown by security forces. “It is not as if the government is trying to use violence to create bloodshed, it’s not the case at all,” he said.
The Red Shirts are largely popular with the rural masses, while yellow-shirted supporters of Abhisit have close links to the monarchy and Thailand’s elite.
The twice-elected Thaksin now lives in exile. Reports say he divides his time between Dubai, China and the UK