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Pattaya Daily News

22 March 2010 :: 14:03:26 pm 16314

New Variation On Bangkok Blood Protests By Red Shirts

In a variation on their blood sacrifices, the Red Shirts created a blood collage of poems, pictures and political slogans on a white canvas background on Sunday, March 21, 2010, after their circumnavigation of Bangkok the previous day.
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Bangkok, March 22, 2010, [Pattaya Daily News]: after their estimated 65,000-strong motorized parade of the capital on Saturday, perhaps their version of a magical circle, the Red Shirts again resorted to another form of magic the following day, daubing a series of bloody pictures, poems and political rhetoric on canvas with the blood remaining from their triadic blood spilling of the previous few days. The lead artist, Wisa Kantap, reportedly stated “We’ll pass this on to future generations to let them know that we had to sacrifice our flesh and blood to get democracy. In the future, this will stand as a historical record.”

The artists painted abstract symbols of blood, sacrifice and violence representing the seemingly intractable historical polemical conflict between, what under the old absolute monarchy, was referred to as ammart (bureaucrats) and phrai (commoners).

Although these terms are used by the Thaksin and the Red Shirts, PM Abhisit in an interview with TV Channel 5, objected to them as being antiquated saying “Thailand no longer has social classes called ammart and phrai. People are equal under the Constitution although they have unequal opportunities.”

Irrespective of the terms used for the gulf between rich and poor in Thailand, however, what is truly significant is that the blood sacrifices remain symbolic and apart from a few soldiers injured by grenade attacks by person or persons unknown, there has been no mammoth blood-letting as was predicted. The Red Shirt leadership reportedly expelled the two more militantly inclined factions led by Maj Gen Khattiya and ex-Communist Mr Surachai, and has repeatedly imploring its followers not to resort to violence. This was particularly emphasized on Saturday, when Jatuporn asked his followers to respect Bangkokians and not to retaliate against those who gave vent to their anger against the movement as it wended its way around Bangkok. Jatuporn later said the Red Shirts had largely been well received by Bangkokians, especially when going through  Klong Toey, although some residents of Soi Pridee 4 had protested against the Red-Shirt ledership.

The resolution of the crisis currently hinges on whether PM Abhisit is prepared to negotiate with the Red Shirt leadership personally rather than delegating this responsibility and whether the apparent impasse over the Red Shirt demands for the dissolution of the House and Abhisit’s essentially intransigent refusal, although at one stage, he did say that he was still prepared to consider this option. Analysts are not over-confident about the outcome, however, saying the stakes were too high for both sides and talks were not likely to result in a compromise. Somjai Phagaphasvivat, a political scientist from Bangkok’s traditionally radical Thammasat University stated “There’s nothing to talk about. The minimum the ‘Red Shirts’ will accept is house dissolution and the government will not yield to that. The root cause of the problem will not be addressed and talks will just pave the way for more protests and upheaval in future.”

Meanwhile, the middle class has one overwhelming fear, the possibility that a young, charismatic leader might arise from the Red Shirt ranks, which would almost certainly provoke the military into resorting to force to preserve the status quo. Columnist Chang Noi believes the military may oppose another general election, and would almost certainly wish to overthrow the winners.

Finally, Thailand’s lack of free speech has once again been brought in front of the international stage as The Economist magazine was banned last week for the fourth time  for lese majesty offences, namely for having the audacity to discuss the question of the succession. Whatever the law in Thailand, it impossible to stop speculation about this crucial issue on the world stage and it is high time the powers-that-be recognized this.

Taliesin Verity

Photo : Jack Rames   Category : Thailand News

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