Blood On Key Bangkok Streets, Albeit From Donations
By: Pattaya Daily News
As the Red Shirts prepare to paint the town red with blood, or at least Government House and two other key locations, Thaksin Shinawatra appears to have vanished, Scarlet Pimpernel-like, with the possibility that he is Montenegro.
Bangkok, March 16, 2010, [PDN]: As a last ditch attempt to force the government to dissolve the House, Veera Musikhapong, and other core Red-Shirt leaders vowed to force the government to capitulate by flooding the entrances to Government House with one million cubic centimetres of blood. If this fails, the Red Shirts will then daub the Democrat Party HQ and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Bangkok residence.
Altogether, three million cubic centimetres (cc) will be taken voluntarily from 100,000 protestors to make a symbolic gesture which would involve Cabinet Ministers and others having to step through the blood in order to reach any of the three locations. “It is a peaceful way of fighting. We would see whether Abhisit dares to walk on our blood to work at the government house,” Weng Tojirakarn, another Red-Shirt leader was quoted as saying by the Nation.
“If three million cc’s of blood have been spilled and the prime minister still refuses to step down, I can guarantee that he will not have the time, not even a minute, to perform his duties,” Natthawut Saikua, yet another core Red-Shirt leader, was reported as saying by the Bangkok Post. At 8.30 am, two core Red-Shirt leaders, Weera Musikapong and Jatuporn Prompan, started the blood donations as an example to their followers who began to stand in line shortly after the leaders had commenced the process.
Meanwhile, health authorities have decried this blood bespattering gesture, even threatening punitive action against nurses who become involved in the blood letting. Dr Weng Tojirakarn, a leader of the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD), had apparently stated that he would enroll 500 medical workers, including doctors and nurses to perform the blood taking. The efficacy of the move was also disputed, this time, surprisingly enough, by key Red-Shirt supporter, Maj. General Kattiya Sawasdipol.
Critics maintained the danger lay in that protestors could be contaminated, risking HIV/AID, hepatitis, paralysis, punctured arteries, exhaustion and even suffer a stroke. The protesters, too, appeared none too pleased about having to donate their blood, as significant numbers voted with their feet, abandoning the protest, partly through fear of the needle and partly as a gesture against the blood bespattering, as well as being disheartened that their protest had not achieved its desired goal of bringing down the government.
Meanwhile, Thaksin phoned to the rally site, encouraging his Red Shirts to be patient, as victory could only be achieved gradually rather than by a ‘grand slam’. He called upon the coalition parties, who have already showed a lack of solidarity with the government and the military to withdraw their support from the government and co-operate with people for democracy.
Thaksin, of course has been speaking from the safety of wherever he is currently holed up. Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, he is being sought here, there and everywhere. Earlier reports had him leaving Dubai under a cloud, next rumoured to be in Cambodia, being refused sanctuary in the UK or Germany and now, apparently having been seen ‘enjoying coffee and cakes in a posh hotel with his entourage’ in Budva, Montenegro, according to Agence France-Presse, relaying news from local media. If the latter location is indeed where he is, the government intend to request that Montenegro discourage Thaksin from using the country from which to verbally attack Thailand.
Both the military and police, amongst whom Thaksin has firm support, have already shown unwilling to clamp down hard on the protestors. If, in the worst case scenario, troops were forced to shoot upon the protestors, many would lay down their arms rather than risk killing those amongst whom could be their relatives, according to an anonymous military source. From the expressions on their faces in some of the photos taken in Bangkok by our reporter, it is apparent that certain members of the military on the streets are not overjoyed by their prospective role, separated from the protestors in many cases by reams of barbed wire.
There was no protection for two soldiers from the First Infantry Regiment in their Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road compound, at about 1.30pm, yesterday, however, as six M79 grenade rounds were fired from a white Space Wagon Mitsubishi van driving down the nearby overhead tollway. The two victims, Master Sgt Preecha Pansamut, 49, Pvt Noom Srifuang, 23, were injured in the stomach and in the left arm, respectively, by the four grenades which exploded, and are now recovering in hospital. The alleged un-named culprit, arrested after a tip-off, is currently undergoing questioning in Thung Mahamek Police Station; no affiliations of the assailant have yet been established.
Red-Shirt leader, Jatuporn Prompan, disclaimed any Red-shirt responsibility for incident, suggesting strongly instead that it was a ruse for government action. “Authorities could use this as a claim to impose the emergency decree so they can crack down on the protesters,” Jatuporn apparently said.