Once the Government’s rice pledging scheme started to fall apart, the Red Shirts showed yet another side of themselves. That new side was to attack rice farmers that were once Red Shirt and Government supporters that had switched sides and became untrusting and anti Government. The reason for the switch was because they were not paid by the Government and now were flat broke and destitute. The Red Shirts did not care that the rice farmers were victims of the Government’s corruption, they simply victimized them again for abandoning support for the Government.
In late 2013 the corruption filled rice pledging scheme became so costly it simply could not be paid for. That resulted in many rice farmers turning on the Government. All the pro-Government propaganda was falling apart with the defaulted payments of about 130 Billion Baht. When the farmers were flat broke and destitute, they had no choice but to turn on the Government and demand payment. Needless to say that turned the Red Shirts against them.
No amount of propaganda was going to fill an empty wallet, and the Red Shirt numbers started to retreat. When the rice farmers decided to go to Bangkok and protest, the Red Shirts did their best to stop them. It was clear the Red Shirts never really had the best interest of the people in mind, but only the best interest of Thaksin Shinawatra.
Even at that time some Red Shirts were reading the writing on the wall and saw the Government heading for demise at their own hand. They had violated the Constitution on several occasions and the independent agencies that would look to bring criminal charges against the Government were picking up momentum. With the Red Shirt numbers shrinking by the day, a movement was started to divide Thailand and create a new state.
The rally cry was all about not being able to get their way. As they seemed to be promoting corruption and did not have much care about the rights of other people and frequently attacked them for expressing different opinions, dividing Thailand was being floated. Needless to say, this is one of those things that was totally impulse driven and next to zero thought was put into it. The reason for that conclusion is very simply it invites the death penalty as it is both treason and sedition. There are not a lot of countries in the world that don’t use the death penalty for those crimes.
Once it was announced that such charges would be brought against the Red Shirts who were moving in that direction, there was immediate back pedaling as they suddenly were hit with the reality check that a big ‘GAME OVER’ sign was looming in their immediate future.
As of March 2014, the opinion Thais had of the Red Shirts was far from flattering and their popularity was fading because of their behavior towards the rice farmers who were victims of the Government’s corruption. The feeling of comradery between the rice farmers and the Red Shirts was all but gone.
The Red Shirt attacks on the anti-graft commission, the Thai courts and the military command has left no doubt that they are not what they started out to be. They clearly wish to cause problems, threaten or attack anyone who would stand in the way of the goals of Thaksin Shinawatra, and really had very little to do with democracy.
To draw comparisons from history the Red Shirts have evolved to be much closer to a dictators private army not too un-similar to the SS troops loyal to only Adolf Hitler. They just lacked the weapons but the Red Shirts were already working at getting armed in conjunction with separating Thailand.