Red and yellow and pink and green
Purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow…

To make life simple political protest in Thailand is colour-coded.

We have the reds – fans of Thaksin (or, at least, fans of the vast handouts he made to poor people from the public purse). They are again staging massive rallies every week (except when there’s a major UK football match on the TV – no I’m not joking) in the retail heart of Bangkok, bringing business to a standstill.

Then there are the yellows – broadly speaking, supporters of the monarchy and of the establishment. When they’re not seizing control of the airport they’re protesting and blocking the traffic around Government House.

Then there’s Santi Asoke (a renegade Buddhist sect) which favours brown. They’re ultranationalists protesting against Cambodia’s claim to a tiny patch of disputed territory on the Thai/Cambodian border.

Members of the Thai Patriots Network – formerly in yellow – are now in blue pyjamas thanks to their having been arrested in the disputed territory and being given new, prison garb to wear by the Cambodian authorities.

The security forces wear green, and the police, brown.

The only colour that hasn’t shown up lately is black, the favoured colour of the paramilitary group that was notionally responsible for protecting the reds during the rallies last year, but was allegedly/apparently/possibly responsible for shooting a few/some/many of the red shirts during the final bloody hours of the protests. However I fear, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll “be back”.

I could add the saffron robes of the monks, and the white of the nuns.

All very colourful.

It is, however, clear, that political tensions and public protest are rising again. I fear for Thailand’s future.


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