Red shirt protesters converge in Bangkok

Supporters of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra swarmed into Bangkok today. Wearing their signature red shirts they converged on the Democracy Monument in all manner of transport in an attempt to bring down the current government. Many of the protesters are from the north eastern part of Thailand known as Isaan and feel that the current government was not democratically elected but rather appointed by the elite ruling class in Bangkok.

Today was a relatively peaceful demonstration but tomorrow they have threatened to spread out all over the city in their attempt to bring the city to a halt and force the current government out of office. The Thai government has deployed 30,000 troops on the streets of Bangkok to prevent a repeat of the violence that marred the Songkran festival in 2009 when 2 people were killed.

I decided to visit the protesters camp to see for myself what the situation was and what I found greatly surprised me. Instead of an angry mob bent on destruction I found a festive, party-like atmosphere with food, drink, music and lots of smiling Thai people. There were plenty of banners and red shirts everywhere and a noticeable lack of tourists. At the moment, malls are open and it is business as usual.