The red shirts returned to Ratchaprasong today, I live only a ten minute walk away. After having my street closed to traffic and all activity for over 2 weeks last year by the red shirts protest, I cannot say it was a welcome return. They promised a big protest, I went to have a look. It was a good turn out, maybe 6,000. They partied and played their music, then caravanned away to block traffic and visit other parts of the city.
A very odd twist to today’s protest at Ratchaprasong, yesterday was Makha Bucha, an important Buddhist holiday that marks the first sermon by the Buddha to his disciples. Directly across from the protest site there was a large celebration at Erawan Shrine with many monks for the Makha Bucha holiday. More on that in another post.
Protests in Bangkok are not like the protests that are happening in the Middle East, these are more like rallies and parades. The atmosphere is more party like than protest like. As you watch and read about the passion and commitment of the protests in the Middle East and compare that with what is taking place in Bangkok, it isn’t fair to even call what happens here protests.
Two comments from Twitter about the protest- “the red shirts protests have become boring” and “why do they continue to protest this way when it has no effect?”
The Thai government provides police for the protests, both to keep the protesters in line and protect the protestors. This is not at all like the battles you see raging in Bahrain and Libya where protestors are dying for the cause. In fact, some leaders of the red shirt protest were dawning wigs and fleeing the 2010 red shirt protest as the government closed in.
I am not anti red shirt, but when you continue to meet and protest and it goes nowhere, stop. The protest in Egypt took down the government in 18 days, what is being accomplished with protest after protest in Bangkok, other than hurting the image of Thailand and scaring off investment and tourism in Thailand?