Signing your name on the dotted line to get paid to attend the Red Shirt rally does come at a cost. You risk being on the receiving end of Red Shirt muscle if you do not show up.
Signing your soul away to the devil is more than a biblical metaphor it would seem at least in some parts of Roi-Et Provence in Isaan. Taking the money and running is no longer an option. Although the exact mechanics of this agreement is not known by Connecting the Dots, what is known is many Red Shirts feel that the violence is past their comfort level, and will now only go if there was significant financial incentive.
Looking at the events of this week, calling it a rally would no longer be accurate. It has become what it was destined to become, and that is a mob of armed violent bullies trying to hold Thailand hostage. The Red Shirt leaders now are starting to see very simply is do or die, and that is not a metaphor. If they do not succeed they will be facing life in jail or the death penalty for treason. Essentially their situation is like the one they helped Thaksin create, and that is no grey or middle ground. If they succeed they will be rewarded, if they fail they will die behind bars one way or another.
This week has eclipsed the 2009 riots already and the lack of movement to evict the Red Shirts suggests much more is going on behind the scenes than is generally known. With Prime Minister Abhisit out of public view and General Anupong trying to play politician and not General, suggest the division in the military runs very deep and he is trying to avoid an all out military vs military civil war. Evicting the Red Shirts is actually very easy if you simply consider that there will be casualties no matter how gentle things go. Even the best surgeons understand that some healthy tissue must be cut away to completely remove any cancer.
The fact that the US Embassy has announced a town hall type meeting for American citizens on April 26 at a Bangkok hotel is a clear sign things are much worse than the media is being allowed to know. Only Americans will be allowed to attend the meeting. Diplomatic channels tend to be more cut and dry without media spin although real time information is not one of their known traits. The meeting will be about the political situation and the desire to accurately inform Americans. The content of the meeting is not known but there is the possibility that perhaps standby travel plans would be advisable. This is an unprecedented event and suggest things are very bad.
Connecting the Dots will do our best to keep real time information posted, but events will happen very fast and there will be too much going on to cover it all. That said because of the delay in evicting the Red Shirts, we expect things will get worse before they get better.