The red shirts today will march through Bangkok in order to round up support. Richard Barrow has created a map of the route, which will be updated during the day. [googlemaps http://maps.google.co.th/maps/ms?hl=en-GB&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=116480606892254086046.0004817fafbb87b0951c0&ll=13.760728,100.561638&spn=0.120049,0.20565&z=12&output=embed&w=600&h=360]
After a day of relative silence from the rally site (meaning no groundbreaking developments) and now a completed week, the protests might come to end. With the march through Bangkok today the Red Shirts hope revitalize their cause and also to try to woo in potential undecided Bangkok supporters. Bangkok Pundit describes the potential target group.
The red shirts will also more likely be seeking the support of the urban poor and the lower middle-classes, particularly those who earn less than 15,000 Baht a month although there is a problem in the sense that the larger the red shirt turn-out on the road, the greater disruption there will be.
"Are the red shirts all about Thaksin?", Bangkok Pundit, March 19, 2010
But in earlier post he also pointed out the difficulties of this move.
The red shirts face the same problem that PAD faced. You stay in Bangkok for too long people will get annoyed as their daily life is upset. If the numbers for a long-term protests are very high then the downside of this is that when you go walking around the city on the various gimmicks you will just cause greater traffic problems. Of course though if your numbers are not high enough, well you become less relevant. Media attention cannot be sustained for long. In fact, now it is on the wane. They will still attract attention for this weekend, but beyond that it becomes more difficult.
"Red shirts losing?", Bangkok Pundit, March 19, 2010
The Bangkok Post cites a writer from the Thai-language daily Matichon about the attitude of many Bangkokians towards the red shirts and the protests so far.
However, this week's red shirt rally is different from previous mob rallies in Bangkok. Most people in Bangkok neither oppose nor support the rally, but are neutral.
The reason might be that even though Bangkokians are still wary about Thaksin, they do not see the Abhisit administration in a shining light. Even though Mr Abhisit still retains a good image, he is seen as ineffectual in curbing corruption within ministries run by coalition parties. They see Mr Abhisit as cautious in tackling corruption, fearing the loss of support of the coalition parties who switched sides from Thaksin's party.
They also see the Abhisit administration as being insincere in solving the red shirt problems at their core, and of trying to paint the red shirts as devils, hell-bent on wreaking havoc in Bangkok.
"Bangkokians prove neutral on red shirt rally", Bangkok Post, March 20, 2010
This could be the final act of the protest, unless they pull a PAD (seize a government building or an airport indefinitely)! The red shirts will try their best to end on a high note, showing their peaceful side and, in the best case, gain sympathies by Bangkokians. Let's if they are still welcomed, after the residents of the capital are being told to stay in yet another weekend...