Thai opposition renews protests

Red shirts begin march through Bangkok as part of campaign to oust the prime minister.

    Red-shirt protesters are snaking across Bangkok to strengthen their anti-government campaign [AFP]

    Public appeal

    City and police officials urged residents to use public transport and either stay at home or at their workplaces until the demonstration ends.

    The protesters want Abhisit, who they accuse of taking power through illegitimate means, to dissolve parliament and call fresh elections - a demand he has repeatedly rejected.

    in depth

      Q&A: Thaksin and the Red Shirts
      Thailand: Warring Colours
      Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra
      Video: 'Red Shirts' swarm Bangkok

    In an attempt to dramatise their demands, thousands of so-called red shirt demonstrators lined up on Tuesday to donate blood to their cause.

    Leaders claimed they collected 300,000 cubic cm of blood that were transferred into dozens of large plastic jugs.

    Most of the blood was splattered at Abhisit's office, at the headquarters of his ruling party and at his private residence.

    Protest leaders say they have 15 jugs of blood left and plan to use it to create a massive work of art.

    Jatuporn Prompan, a protest leader, said: "Artists and red shirts will be invited to partake in a blood painting."

    They plan to unfurl a giant white cloth on which supporters will be invited to paint pictures, scrawl poems and express political statements.

    "The theme of this artwork will be the history of the people's fight for democracy," Jatuporn said.

    'Class war'

    The red shirts describe their struggle as one between "phrai", the common people, and "amataya", upper-class bureaucrats and other members of the elite.

    Thailand's Red Shirts

     Supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in bloodless coup in 2006

     Formally known as the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)

     Formed in 2008 as a counter to the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy, also known as the Yellow Shirts

     Members are mainly rural workers from outside Bangkok, especially in the rural north and northeast, but also has support from students and other political activists

     Group accuses the military and Thai elite of undermining democracy

    The group largely consists of supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption, and pro-democracy activists who opposed the army takeover.

    Thaksin lives in self-imposed exile, mostly in Dubai, and has delivered several video-link addresses to the red shirts.

    The red shirts brought him two landslide election wins and remain loyal because of his populist policies.

    "Fellow Bangkokians, send any kind of signals, wave a red flag, give some water, so that our red shirts can feel at ease," Thaksin urged in a video link-up on Friday.

    "I apologise for the traffic congestion lately and there will be more traffic jams when we march.

    "I apologise. I owe you one.

    "When I return, [I promise] 10 lines of electric trains from Bangkok to the surrounding provinces."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    Venezuela in default: What next?

    As the oil-rich country fails to pay its debt, we examine what happens next and what it means for its people.

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The Muslims of South Korea

    The number of Muslims in South Korea is estimated to be around 100,000, including foreigners.

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    What is Mohammed bin Salman's next move?

    There are reports Saudi Arabia is demanding money from the senior officials it recently arrested.