As some hardline red shirts vowed to go underground to fight a violent war against the government and the old elite, other, pro-peace red shirts met to discuss how to carry on the struggle peacefully.
Sombat Boon-ngam-anong, a key member of the red-shirt movement who led protests from a minor stage in the Din Daeng area for a few nights after the main protest site was cordoned off by the military before the crackdown on Wednesday, said he had met with some 300-plus red shirts on Thursday to discuss the future of a peaceful struggle.
"I insist like what Veera [Musigapong] said [on Thursday as he turned himself in] that a peaceful struggle is most legitimate," Sombat told The Nation yesterday, adding he had high hopes that a peaceful struggle by the red shirts would lead to victory.
Sombat said that what took place during the crackdown on Wednesday, which led to 15 deaths on that day alone and combined to a total of more than 70 deaths over the past month or so, signaled a "political defeat" for Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. "He has unveiled his real face behind that good-looking face of his. The continued killings showed us Abhisit's and the ammart's [aristocrats'] behaviour. Thai society is blind and we do not see the real truth. This government is an ammart government, which is brutal, a tyrannical regime that sucks people's blood."
Nevertheless, Sombat urged the red shirts not to resort to violent struggle, saying it was tantamount to abandoning the democratic path. Some reds have vowed to violently target government offices as well as businesses owned by allies of the old bureaucratic-aristocratic elite. "It will be a full-fledged class war," said one red shirt.
As for Sombat, his group will launch a symbolic struggle, including mobile political performance art and is urging supporters to don red every Sunday.
He predicts that the red shirts will emerge even stronger and bigger after a month as they overcome the current after-shock period and begin spreading their stories throughout the country. "The force will be immense," said Sombat, who is prepared for what he fears will be an arrest warrant under the emergency decree in the hours ahead.