Red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into the residential compound of Thailand’s prime minister yesterday, hoping their shock tactics will bring down his government.
Several thousand later gathered in front of the US embassy, saying they wanted to tell the international community that their government is illegitimate. A protest leader, Jatuporn Prompan, went into the embassy compound, where he said he talked with US diplomats.
The dramatic act — which followed similar “blood sacrifices” on Tuesday at Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s office and the headquarters of his Democrat Party — grabbed attention, but put the “Red Shirt” protest movement no closer to its goal of forcing new elections.
The protesters consist of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption, and pro-democracy activists who opposed the army takeover. They believe Abhisit came to power illegitimately — with the connivance of the military and other parts of the traditional ruling class — and that only new elections can restore integrity to Thai democracy.
Yesterday riot police first blocked all approaches to Abhisit’s walled compound in an area that is home to many wealthy Thais and expatriates. However, after negotiations, three dozen demonstrators were allowed to squeeze through the police cordon carrying about six five-liter plastic jugs filled with frothy blood over their heads.
They splattered blood across Abhisit’s front gate and poured some of it into plastic bags that they hurled at the home, leaving the walls, roof and grounds smeared with red.
A heavy afternoon downpour ended as the blood spilling finished, leaving dark red puddles in the street that a white-suited medical cleanup team quickly hosed away. Some climbed on the prime minister’s tile roof to remove the empty, blood-soaked bags.
Despite some tension, the protest was festive. Thai country music blared from speakers on the protesters’ pickup trucks and the demonstrators waved and smiled to residents -- as did riot police.
“A group of police stopped us,” Swedish tourist Elouise Johansson said. “I thought, oh no, I don’t have my passport with me, but they just wanted to take pictures with us.”
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