There have been a few problems along the way, but by and large the red-shirts have managed to maintain an orderly campaign against Abhisit’s government. A good description of Saturday’s well attended rally and march on Government House is provided in this blog entry by Nirmal Gosh of the Straits Times. Here is an extract:
Thailand’s pro-democracy ”red shirts” began gathering at Sanam Luang around midday on Saturday for their scheduled rally. I got there at around 5.30pm and found well over 10,000 people. By the time I left two hours later it had reached over 30,000. Organisers claimed it had reached 50,000.
I bumped into former National Human Rights Commissioner Jaran Ditta-apichai who supports the reds, behind the stage. In the course of our chat he said ”Even if Thaksin (Shinawatra) stops fighting, the red movement will go on. Reds are not fighting for any leader, they fight for an ideology.” And as we parted he added cryptically : ”The ultimate ideology.”
Later professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn turned up as well, wearing a black T-shirt with a red baseball cap. He had joined the reds, he said. In the course of talking about the composition of the red shirts, Giles who has always been critical of Thaksin for his human rights abuses, said ”Being pro-Thaksin doesn’t mean people are puppets of Thaksin, or are being paid by Thaksin. The movement is beyond Thaksin, it’s a movement for democracy and a better future.” …
I followed Prof Giles up on to the stage and took a picture of him greeting Jakrapob Penkair. To me that moment was one of many symbolic ones of the last three years of political turmoil in Thailand : Jakrapob and Giles both face lese majeste charges. In that moment, the lese majeste issue converged with the issue of democracy.
Nirmal’s account is well illustrated, and includes pictures by Nick Nostitz, who has featured regularly on New Mandala. Here are some additional pictures of the rally taken by Nick.
Protesters from Isan at Sanam Luang
The army blocking the streeet to Government House
The march to government house
Jumping over the first barricade
Removing the barricades
Leena Jungjanja, serial Bangkok Governor candidate, joined the red shirts