Thousands of demonstrators remained encamped in the historic heart of the Thai capital Thursday, vowing to engage in “class warfare” until the government is ousted.
A 2,000-vehicle protest rally through the streets of Bangkok was planned for Saturday, but Thursday appeared to be a rest day after four days of mass demonstrations and shock tactics like the pouring of human blood at the home of the prime minister and the seat of government.
Leaders of the “Red Shirt” protesters, who want Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call new elections, said Wednesday they would scale back the size of their demonstrations in order to conserve energy and resources.
The decision to stay encamped in Bangkok is meant to keep up the pressure on Mr. Abhisit, who already has rejected several of the protesters’ deadlines to dissolve Parliament.
“It is the beginning of class war,” said Natthawut Saikua, among the protest leaders who have increasingly portrayed the demonstrations as a struggle between Thailand’s impoverished, mainly rural masses and a Bangkok—based elite impervious to their plight.
The protesters also consist of supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption, and pro—democracy activists who opposed the army takeover. They believe Abhisit came to power illegitimately with the connivance of the military and other parts of the traditional ruling class and that only new elections can restore integrity to Thai democracy.
“I’m asking you to be patient for one more week. We will achieve true democracy and better lives for Thais all over the country. I understand that you must be tired, hot and hungry. Be patient for another seven days for our children’s future,” Mr. Thaksin told his supporters via a video link on Wednesday.
According to newspaper reports, Mr. Thaksin would be returning to his base in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, after a trip to Europe.
On Wednesday, red-shirted protesters hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood into Mr. Abhisit’s residential compound, following similar protests the day before at his office and the headquarters of his Democrat Party.
Several thousand later gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy, saying they wanted to tell the international community that their government is illegitimate.