With the sudden announcement by the red shirts that they were calling off their rally citing government security measures, they also signaled a change in strategy. That strategy is simply to twist things around with highly distorted propaganda.
There certainly was incentive to delay the red shirt rally both inside and outside Thailand. Inside Thailand because the security measures would interfere with the not so hidden agenda of the red shirts, and outside Thailand Thaksin was not yet ready with his new broadcast studio beyond the borders of his latest off limits country The United Arab Emirates.
Another reason for delay is simply the poll results about the government security measures. The 80 something percent of the people in the greater Bangkok area that approve of the governments measures, is a percentage that mathematically must include a significant number of red shirts. Meaning that many red shirts do not approve of the extreme violent measures of the red shirt core. That assessment is supported in that many red shirts had gone home from the April rally before the riots. That quickly translates into the possibility lower numbers at this rally.
As for the propaganda spin that no doubt will be coming from the red shirts is simply ‘The government did not allow the rally.’ They likely will get some traction out of that in Isaan with the lesser educated Thais, however exactly how much is hard to say. It is highly likely to be portrayed as being prohibited from having their rally. They will cite a bias against the red shirts and Thaksin as only they are blessed with being surrounded by thousands of uniformed Thais wearing battle gear.
As for the risk to Thailand, any act that activates emergency powers simply hurts Thailand’s economy. So Thaksin did get something out of this as he did manage to hurt Thailand some. With embassies sending out warnings to their citizens, simply means at least some incoming travel was canceled.
As the red shirts did involve the courts and the review is not due for several weeks, it sets more of a risk for the government than it does for Thaksin. There could be a cat and mouse game played by Thaksin now by calling and canceling rallies at the last minute, forcing the government to enact the emergency measures again. By doing that it would tend to destabilize Thailand.
Where this will go next is hard to say as clearly the security measures trump any violence the red shirts may be planning. So counter measures by the red shirts could range from decentralized attacks to other things. The only thing certain is they will be coming.
The reason that we can not make an accurate prediction now is we lack some key information on Thaksin and his status. If he is hopping from one place to another because he is not invited or at the very least restricted on what he can do will provide some possibilities to consider. If he has found a new nest to make war from then other possibilities must be considered.