Literally, though very unlike what the usual expression means. In one of the most bizzare and significant protests in the history of Southeast Asia particularly Thailand, the people who protested – “Red Shirts” – dumped bottles and buckets of their own blood onto the ground in front of the Thai Government House (Office of the Thai Prime Minister) in the capital city of Bangkok. These Red Shirts have been very active ever since former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was overthrown from power by a coup and replaced by current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva(left). The many thousands who are in the Red Shirt “Movement” rails against the current government’s “inability” to look after the majority of the country and instead favoring the more wealthy class in society.
The Red Shirts who are mostly civilians from the middle and lower classes support the return of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra as he held the lower classes in consideration, Thailand has been embroiled in internal political affairs which has effectively ceased much of its political functions in its courts. Any political party or organization associated with Mr. Thaksin is immediately banned which only fuels the fire as Red Shirts continue to protest at times making most of Bangkok’s activities cease.
As tens of thousands Red Shirts protested and demonstrated in the streets for legitimate elections to occur along with the dissolving of the Thailand Parliament, the majority of the frustrated crowd began to donate their blood in nearby tents despite objections from health officials. The 300 LITRES of human blood when it could be used to donate to others who need it and when Thailand in question has one of the highest rates of HIV and AIDs is troubling at first. Yet culture plays a part in this protest. Blood, in many Asian cultures, symbolizes life, family, and honor. Blood represents one’s commitment to a vow made, such as swearing brotherhood and in this case, a promise to bring legitimate democracy. In Thailand, blood plays a religious role as well as the blood spilling began a Bramin priest started a ritual in front of a gate guarded by riot police in support for the protestors.
Among those who donated, monks also contributed further bolstering a symbolic image of the recent protest. It is considered shameful to ‘spill the blood’ of monks in many Asian cultures due to their peaceful and non-dangerous attire.
This gory and attention-calling demonstration is the next level of intensity as Red Shirt protests had resorted to threats and violence last year most famously raiding a hotel in Pattaya where foreign leaders from other countries and organizations were gathering at forcing them to flee from the country by inconvinient means. That incident raised questions about the ability of the Thai government to enforce security in its own country. The ‘bloody’ protests have so far satisfied many protestors who believe they have managed to get out a more aggressive message to the current government. As of now, the number of protestors have drastically gone down to 14,000 from 100,000 last weekend. The current prime minister of Thailand Vejjajiva has refused to dissolve the Parliament and has continued to assert this decision despite the ongoing protests.