Protesters in Bangkok demand elections
by Brian Lapuz
Demonstrators are still present in the streets of Bangkok, Thailand, as tens of thousands of ‘red-shirts’ moved into town calling for new elections, on March 13.
The National United Front of Democracy Against the Dictatorship (UDD) or red-shirts began their campaign with 100,000 people and spilled liters of blood, that they had collected amongst themselves, in front of government headquarters and at the gates of Prime Minister Adhisit Vejjajiva’s private residence.
According to Al Jazeera, the spilling of blood was a symbolic gesture in response to what the UDD claimed Vejjajiva told the population on television: he could not walk on the blood of his people to get to work.
I think that if there is an election today, we would win,” UDD spokesperson Sean Boonpracong told Al Jazeera, on March 16.
There was an attempt on Sunday by to the PM to negotiate with the opposition by sending delegates, however, the red-shirts refused them and said that they only wanted to negotiate with the Vejjajiva himself.
Currently, the Thai prime minister is living in a military barrack and refuses to step down.
Vejjajiva told the BBC, during an interview on Friday, that when he came into office, political differences ran deep in Thailand and said that the country is still divided.
“What we are trying to do is to make sure that the demonstrations continue in a constitutional and a peaceful manner,” Vejjajiva said to the BBC.
The following day, the red-shirts organized a motorcade in an attempt to gain support from Bangkok residents, where 30,000 people were estimated to have joined.
“We will travel to find love from the people of Bangkok and to unite them with us, the poor peasants, to overthrow the elite-backed government,” Veera Musikhapong, a protest leader said, according to the Bangkok Post.
The UDD is mainly composed of supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in 2006 by a military coup. Prime Minister Vejjajiva came into office in 2008 by a special parliamentary vote, but was never elected by the people.
Shinawatra is currently in exile and has addressed the red-shirts a couple of times via online videos since the campaign began.