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Thailand: Bangkok blood curse

In a fit of class rage, Thais paint government offices in their own blood.

Military leaders, and the current government, insisted his reign was incorrigibly corrupt. After military rule lifted, elections brought Thaksin’s political allies back to power — but they too were unseated two years ago under charges of vote-buying and graft.

The Red Shirts have coalesced Thais who feel the deck is stacked against them. They frame their ongoing rallies — including the blood-splashing campaign — as a “final battle” against a network of military top brass, connected politicians and advisers to Thailand’s royal family.

But while this message has gained momentum through their radio and satellite TV network, any effort to collapse the ruling party is unlikely to succeed anytime soon, said Pavin Chachavalpongpun, a researcher at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

“We’ve had final showdowns before,” said Pavin, referring to last year’s attempted government ouster led by Red Shirts that descended into brief rioting “This is supposed to be the final of the final of the final. But each showdown keeps topping the next one.”

Protesters splashed government offices with human blood.
(Patrick Winn/GlobalPost)

Though free of outright violence, the blood curse campaign left government offices looking like the scene of a massacre.

After splashing white walls of the premier’s compound with blood, protesters marched to the ruling Democrat Party’s headquarters for the second act. Gallons more were emptied on the front steps until a chanting crowd stood in a sticky pool of red.

The remaining blood, leaders said, will be saved for an even bolder stunt: the blood-dousing of Abhisit’s well-guarded personal residence.

The Red Shirt leadership’s rhetoric has grown increasingly caustic. But they have so far prevented followers from stooping to police clashes or major property damage. The military has also shown restraint, replacing most soldiers’ assault rifles with batons and allowing protesters to claim parts of Bangkok as rally sites.

Security forces have even tolerated the blood curses, framed by Red Shirt leaders as a sacrifice symbolizing the toll extracted from Thailand’s have-nots. As their rally drags on, and numbers begin to dwindle, they have pleaded with followers to stick out this so-called “fight to the death.”

“I can accept death,” said Kit Somwut, a 62-year-old car salesman from Thailand’s Ayutthaya province. “We’re all ready to die for this. We are weaponless, but even if the soldiers come for us, we’ll fight back with peace so our grandchildren can know happiness in Thailand.”