Anti government Thai protesters took to the streets of Bangkok in their vehicles today (Saturday) to press for their demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva dissolve the parliament and hold new elections. The rally brought out thousands of cars, trucks, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and even people on foot.
The goal of the protesters was to win support from the citizens of Bangkok and to some degree I think they were successful. Rather than an angry mob of people stuck in the traffic jam, most of the Bangkokians I saw were excited to see the protesters drive by. Many were handing out water and food and everyone was cheering the protesters on with flags and banners.
What is interesting is seeing the growing awareness of the Thais of how the red shirt supporters outnumber the government supporters and the change in those who previously had no political clout realizing how powerful their vote is. The red shirts seem unsure of how to handle their new power and spurred on by the fugitive billionaire, Thaksin Shinawatra are resorting to chaos to try and get their message across. I would imagine that it won’t be long for a savvy politician to take advantage of the reds growing numbers and organize then into a political party that future governments will have to consider.
If you are curious as to what the banners and flags that the protesters are carrying actual say then blogger Catherine Wentworth has translated many of the protest signs from Thai to English.