Thursday, April 8, 2010

Red Shirts (still here)

The Red Shirts are still in town. Since arriving en masse a few weeks ago (see 16 March post), they've been milling around Bangkok, holding rallies, issuing demands and generally being disruptive.Yesterday they stormed the gates of parliament, although once in they contented themselves with a fairly harmless pushing match against the riot police, the latter showing remarkable restraint (too much, in some people's views). The rest have been camped out in Central World plaza, closing the shopping mall (SE Asia's largest) and bringing four major streets to a standstill. I had a quick look yesterday on my way home. They're a cheery, well-organized bunch. There are stalls selling water, food, clackers, and of course red T-shirts. They've erected a stage on which their leaders whoop the crowds up with deafening rhetoric. They're quite polite. This could all change as the Prime Minister has declared a State of Emergency ahead of a big rally tomorrow. Could this be the moment when the army go in and clear the reds off the streets? Whatever happens, I hope both sides continue to err on the side of restraint.

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