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Thai Protesters Hurl Blood At Prime Minister's House

Thai riot police guard the home of the prime minister after protesters splashed human blood at its gates in Bangkok.
(RFE/RL) -- Protesters have hurled plastic bags filled with their own blood at the residential compound of the Thai prime minister, hoping their shock tactics will help bring down his government.

Riot police, who first blocked all approaches to Abhisit Vejjajiva's residence, allowed several dozen demonstrators carrying plastic bottles filled with blood to approach the compound.

The protesters splattered blood on the gates and fences and poured some of it into plastic bags that they hurled at the home, leaving the walls, roof, and grounds smeared with red.

It's the fourth day of mass rallies to demand Abhisit resign.

The antigovernment protesters are led by supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and subsequently sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for graft.

The protesters say the current government was installed illegally and are calling for early elections.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said the government was standing firm.

"They cannot force us like this, to have new elections, and then the new government might be able to work only for a few days or few months and then be forced to leave by protests again," Suthep said. "This could be nonstop."

Government Paralyzed

Abhisit, who has been staying at a military base since the protests began, was not at his home, located in a Bangkok suburb. On March 15, he rejected a demand from protesters to quit and call elections.

Also today, several thousand red-shirted protesters gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, demanding clarification of allegations that the Thai government had received U.S. intelligence warnings of violence during the protests.

A cabinet meeting scheduled for March 16 was cancelled and a parliamentary hearing stopped for lack of a quorum.

The same day, protesters poured human blood at the gates of Government House and the headquarters of Abhisit's Democrat Party.

There was criticism that the blood spilling was wasting a resource that could have been used to help the sick. But protesters said the splashing of blood was a symbolic sacrifice for democracy.

Large Protest

Some reports said it was also a bid to reenergize a peaceful movement that appears to be waning.

Of up to 150,000 demonstrators who massed late on March 13, many had left, with police saying about 40,000 remained today.

But for many protesters, the passion remained undiminished and their demands as loud as ever. "I will not give up," one protester said. "I have been fighting to reach this point, so I will continue fighting until we win and achieve democracy."

Protest leaders lauded the big show of nonviolent support as a victory for their movement, and said the group had not decided what the next move would be.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of security forces remain on standby.

Both red-shirt leaders and government figures have insisted they are determined to keep the protests peaceful.

compiled from agency reports