They always say that mass demonstrations against an unpopular government reach a point of no return when blood is shed. But the “red shirt” demonstrations in Bangkok are different. Yes, there is blood on the streets - but, in this case, it it the protesters who are spilling their own blood on the pavement, in a bizarre form of political protest.
There is a certain brilliance to the tactic. The television pictures are irresistible and have gone all round the world. But what are the demonstrators trying to say? That the government has blood on its hands?; that they will shed blood for their cause? It is not entirely clear. Jon Henley of the Guardian has consulted social anthropologists, political scientists and Thai sociologists and has emerged none the wiser. It’s all very baffling.