Peaceful, symbolic activities by Thailand's red-shirts (2)

20:03, August 16, 2010      

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"Actually within the red-shirts, we have several sub-movements, such as Red Siam and People's Assembly. Red Sunday activities reflect the complexity of red-shirt movement. And I don't see it as the rival of UDD," said Sean.

The red-shirts movement, many of them are from low-class and supporters of Thaksin, has staged many anti-government rallies across the country since Abhisit Vejjajiva came to power in the end of 2008. They called on the government, which they deemed as " illegitimate", to dissolve the parliament and to hold a snap election.

In their latest major bid to topple the government, the red- shirts protested in Bangkok from March 14 to May 19 that cost Thailand billions of U.S. dollars. The rally also left 88 killed and another 1,885 injured.

After the end of the rally, most of the major leaders of UDD were detained, leaving thousands of red-shirts across the country leaderless. And to prevent any new upheaval by the anti-government movement, the government has maintained its enforcement of the state of emergency in some provinces, including Bangkok, for five months.

Under this circumstance, Sombat initiated "Red Sunday" campaign to encourage red-shirt supporters to wear red shirts and hold political activities in a peaceful way.

Sombat said his group will gather and hold symbolic activities every Sunday. The gathering aims to encourage red-shirts not to give up and remind the public of people who were killed in the incident.

The Red Sunday's activities is held every Sunday evening and takes only approximately two hours. The gathering place is changed from time to time as Sombat said he did not want to create a hateful atmosphere among the neighbourhood of that gathering point.

Pitch Pongsawat, political scientist from Chulalongkorn University, said Red Sunday's activity was more like an art or cultural politics than conventional hardcore street demonstration. This kind of movement, Pitch said, was more accessible for the middle class than the grassroots.

The academic said the majority of Red Sunday supporters were middle class who are anti-coup de'tat and may not care much about Thaksin.


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(Editor:梁军)

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