Thai demonstrators spill blood at premier’s homeMarch 17th, 2010 - 2:10 pm ICT by IANS
Bangkok, March 17 (DPA) Thousands of anti-government demonstrators Wednesday marched to the home of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to spill blood on his doorstep as a gory protest against his “elitist” rule.
More than 400 riot police and a freak downpour failed to stop about 10,000 members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), also called the red shirts for the colour its supporters wear, from marching to Abhisit’s house off Sukhumvit Road.
Police allowed the protesters to get within five metres of Abhisit’s house on the understanding that they would not attempt to enter the compound.
After pouring blood collected from their followers outside his home as part of a curse against the premier, whom they wish to force to resign and call for new elections, the protesters left for the US embassy.
“We apologise for causing inconvenience to the neighbourhood,” said UDD co-leader Nattawut Saikue. He stopped followers from throwing small bags of blood over the wall into Abhisit’s compound.
The UDD is to march on the US embassy to seek a clarification on allegations that the CIA had tapped the phone of their de-facto leader, fugitive politician Thaksin Shinawatra, and learned of plans to commit sabotage during this week’s protests, which have so far been without violence.
The UDD is demanding that Abhisit resign, dissolve parliament and call for new elections to pave the way for a political comeback for Thaksin and his political allies.
On Tuesday, they collected blood from thousands of supporters and poured it at the six entrances to Government House, the government’s main administrative centre.
Afterward, the UDD supporters marched on the Bangkok headquarters of the Democrat Party, which Abhisit heads, to spill more blood and chant more curses there.
“We pour this blood for democracy,” Nattawut said outside the heavily guarded headquarters of the party, the oldest political party in Thailand at 62 years.
On Monday, Abhisit rejected the UDD’s ultimatum to resign by noon.
Peeved, the UDD leaders vowed to collect blood from their 100,000 demonstrating followers to throw on the entrance to Government House Tuesday as part of a curse against Abhisit and his cabinet.
Abhisit, Thailand’s articulate, Oxford-educated premier since December 2008, is a prime target of the UDD leaders’ rhetoric.
They argued that Abhisit, 45, came to power illegitimately with the backing of the military and is the puppet of Bangkok’s “amarat”, a vague Thai term describing rule by bureaucrats. The UDD claim that unlike Thaksin, Abhisit and his cabinet ignore the plight of Thailand’s rural poor.
Abhisit came to power through a parliamentary process after the December 2008 dissolution of the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party, which was found guilty of electoral fraud in the December 2007 polls.
The government, which has more than 40,000 soldiers and police on hand to maintain the peace in Bangkok, has thus far treated the protests gingerly.
The UDD last week promised to draw 1 million protesters to Bangkok to topple the current government. An estimated 100,000 showed up and about 20,000 remain in Bangkok, although their numbers vary.
The government has placed Bangkok and seven surrounding provinces under the Internal Security Act through March 23, empowering authorities to prohibit protests in sensitive areas and detain perpetrators of violence for up to a year.
Thaksin, who was prime minister from 2001 to 2006, continues to hold sway over millions of the country’s urban and rural poor, thanks to the populist policies he implemented during his two-term premiership. He also enjoys support from a broad spectrum of society
intent on changing the status quo.
He was toppled by a coup in September 2006 and has been living in self-imposed exile, mostly in Dubai, since August 2008 to avoid a two-year jail sentence for abuse of power.
Thaksin’s political and financial fortunes have arguably reached a nadir this year.
The Supreme Court for Political Office Holders on February 26 found Thaksin guilty of abuse of power and ordered the seizure of 1.4 billion of the $2.3 billion in frozen bank assets belonging to him and his family.
The former telecommunications tycoon has delivered nightly phone-in messages to his supporters, urging them to struggle for political change and blaming the Bangkok-based political elite for his misfortunes.
Tags: administrative centre, curses, democrat party, demonstrators, dictatorship, doorstep, downpour, government house, inconvenience, neighbourhood, political allies, political comeback, protesters, riot police, sabotage, spill blood, thai prime minister, thaksin shinawatra, united front, us embassy