Red March on Bangkok, Day 6 - "Peaceful Class War"

After another questionable display of blood spilling, this time at PM Abhisit's private house, and the decreasing number of attendance, there was still the looming question of what the next move of the anti-government protests would be. But more on that later. One of the major developments was the open split between the red shirt leaders and ex-communist insurgent Surachai Sae Dan and Major General Kattiya Sawasdiphon - better known as Seh Daeng. Seh Daeng is a colorful and well-known character in Thailand and he wasn't quiet today as well. In his usual vivid style he said:

เสธ.แดงกล่าวเพิ่มเติมว่า ที่ผ่านมา พวก 3 เกลอเคยพาเสื้อแดงทำอะไรประสบความสำเร็จบ้าง นำทัพแดงรบแพ้มา 2 ครั้ง ขณะที่ตนเป็นทหารที่รบชนะมาตลอด คอยช่วยเหลือเสื้อแดงอยู่ตลอด ดังนั้นแกนนำนปช.ควรจะถอยไป เหลือไว้เพียงนายณัฐวุฒิ ไสยเกื้อ และเปิดโอกาสให้นายอริสมันต์ พงษ์เรืองรอง นายสุพร อัตถาวงศ์ และนายขวัญชัย ไพรพณา ขึ้นมาเป็นผู้นำทัพคนใหม่

(Sae Daeng further criticizes: "In the past, what have the three leader of the Red Shirts achieved? They have led the Red Army and lost twice. On the contrary, I - the soldier - have always won and was always loyal to the Red Shirts. Thus the UDD leaders should step aside with the exception of Natthawut Saigua and make space for Arisaman Pongruengrong, Suporn Atthawong and Kwanchai Praiphana to be the new leaders.")

"เสธ.ฉุน3เกลอ สู้ไม่ได้ป้ายขี้ แนะมาร์คนั่งรถแทนฮ.", Thai Rath, March 17, 2010 - Translation by me

The last three names that Sae Daeng mentioned are known hardliners within the movement.

About the blood stunt he said:

"ไม่รู้แกนนำเอาตำราพิชัยสงครามเล่มไหนมาใช้ เพราะปกติเขาจะกรีดเลือดเฉพาะผู้นำทัพ แต่นี่กลับมาเจาะเลือดลูกทัพ ทำให้เสียมวลชนที่เป็นสตรีและเด็กจำนวนมาก กลุ่ม 3 เกลอรู้ดีว่าสู้ไม่ได้เลยโกรธ จึงโยนความผิดให้และด่าว่าตนทำให้แพ้ (...)"

(I don't know what battle manual they have read, because normally you the take blood of the leaders. But here they take the blood of the supporters, which drives the women and children away in large numbers. The three leaders know that they cannot fight, so they're angry and are blaming me for their defeat! (...)")

"เสธ.ฉุน3เกลอ สู้ไม่ได้ป้ายขี้ แนะมาร์คนั่งรถแทนฮ.", Thai Rath, March 17, 2010 - Translation by me

Meanwhile one of the current red shirt leaders had this to say:

Veera Musigapong announced on the stage at Phan Fah Bridge that the two had looked down on the red-shirt people by crticising the peaceful measures of the red-shirt leaders so the movement or Red in Land decided to cut tie with the two.

"Red in Land officially severs tie with Khattiya, Surachai" The Nation, March 17, 2010

There was certainly frustration within the movement that nothing substantial has come out of the last days and it was a matter of time when the first rifts will openly appear.

Suthichai Yoon of The Nation doesn't really quite believe the split:

But cynics say that this "break-up" may be a facade -- so that some violent acts could be carried out without the mainstream Red Shirts may being directly blamed for them.

We shall see whether this "split" is for real.

"Its official: The Reds are split...but is it for real?", by Suthichai Yoon, The Nation Blog, March 17, 2010

One cynic here thinks that he meant himself with "but cynics say...", just sayin'...

In the evening we got to know about the next (and may be final) act: they have declared a "peaceful class war" and will be rallying around Bangkok on Saturday. While this can be one last defiant move of the protests, we have to see if they can maintain a fighting mood until the weekend and I'm still not convinced that they will be able to woo in undecided Bangkokians to join the rally.

Further reading: