Thailand (MNN) — Tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Thailand on Sunday in an attempt to dissolve Parliament and have a new election. The Associated Press reports that when Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva refused to acquiesce by noon Monday, protesters threatened to spill over 2,000 pints of their own blood on the Government House.
The root of the protest extends to 2006 when Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was thrown out of office for refusing to pay taxes on a major business deal.
Supporters of Thaksin have since been interested in bringing him back to power. According to the Associated Press, these supporters, better known as the Red Shirts, have been in touch with Thaksin, who has been telling them that the "ruling elites" are the reason for their problems. The Red Shirts make up the group of protesters who were rallying earlier this week.
Patrick Klein of Vision Beyond Borders says the Red Shirts' support for Thaksin stems from Thaksin's original campaign schemes.
"Thaksin was paying people in the villages [about] 500 Baht, which is about 13 dollars, to vote for him," says Klein. "So people voted for him, they got behind him, they supported him, and he would do things for people in the villages to get their support. That's what a lot of these Red Shirts are — they're poor farmers, they like Thaksin, and they want him to come back into power."
Klein says the Red Shirts have been trying to gain the King's backing for Thaksin as well. So far the Queen and the morally ambiguous Prince (who is disliked by most in Thailand) support the Red Shirts.
Thailand is one democracy in a sea of repressive governments and has generally been a place of rest for many. "It's been a real safe haven for a lot of missionaries and a lot of work of the Gospel, even going up into China and throughout Southeast Asia," says Klein. "A lot of people are praying for Thailand right now, and we need to continue to pray for them."
Christians have been put in tough situations as they're forced to choose sides in this political mess, but they have also been given an open doorway. "I think people are losing faith in their governments, and I think that opens the door for us to share the Gospel with them," says Klein.
Pray for believers to respond well to the turmoil in Thailand, but pray also that they would be bold in sharing the peace of Christ amid chaos. Pray that the Lord would use this as a means of bringing more people to Himself.