Red Masks Face-Off With Guy Fawkes Masks

(2 June) The term
?political masquerade? gets somewhat literal meaning in central Bangkok today after
anti-government protesters who donned Guy Fawkes masks were met with counter-protesters wearing red
masks.

Earlier in the day, around 500 anti-government protesters gathered around the plaza in
front of Central World shopping, Ratchaprasong intersection, with their Guy Fawkes masks to voice
their opposition to the government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra.

The rally followed an online
trend in which many government critics adopted the masks as their profile pictures of social network
sites. The anti-government faction portrayed their movement as ?Thai Spring?, claiming
they are following footsteps of dissidents in the Arab world.

However, the number of those
who showed up at the protest is notably much smaller than the size of their virtual revolution. One
man holds up a sign that reads Next time we will come in millions. Others displayed signs that
affirm their loyalty to the King of Thailand, reflecting the belief among government critics that
Ms. Yingluck and her brother, ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, are threat to the
monarchy.

On 17.00, the protesters marched to Siam Center shopping mall, but a different
group of protesters were already staging their rally on the pavement there. The counter-protesters
wore arrays of red-colored masks, featuring faces from famous Japanese manga. A sign held by a
protester reads We will overthrow the Ammart (feudal rulers) regime and its tyranny in Thailand,
in a clear rebuke to the Guy Fawkes crowd who marched under a banner that reads We will overthrow
Thaksin regime.

Members of the red mask protests say they call themselves Red Sayiew
(feeling sexy), parodying the radical, progressive Red Siam faction of the Redshirts.

Mr.
Pakorn Cheewangkul, leader of Red Sayiew, said in an interview that his group merely wants to mock
the anti-government Guy Fawkes maskers and had no political agenda. He denied any link to the
Redshirts, insisting that he organized the event out of dedication to democracy.

If they Guy
Fawkes people continue to protest, we will be there again, Mr. Pakorn promised.

Guy Fawkes
protester finished their march in front of Bangkok Art and Culture Center. The group eventually
finished their rally after singing the royal anthem. Their newly-formed nemesis Red Sayiew
protesters quickly disbanded soon after.