| 9.7°C Dublin

Red shirts vow 'class war' to bring down Thai leaders

Thousands of demonstrators remained encamped in the historic heart of the Thai capital today, vowing to stir up a "class war" until the government is ousted.

A 2,000-vehicle protest rally through the streets of Bangkok is planned for Saturday, but today appeared to be a rest day after four days of mass demonstrations and shock tactics like the pouring of human blood at the home of the prime minister and the seat of government.

Leaders of the Red Shirt protesters, who want Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to call new elections, had said yesterday they would scale back the size of their demonstrations to conserve energy and resources.

The decision to stay encamped in Bangkok is meant to keep up the pressure on Abhisit, who has rejected several of the protesters' deadlines to dissolve parliament.

"It will be the beginning of a class war," said Natthawut Saikua, among the protest leaders who have increasingly portrayed the demonstrations as a struggle between Thailand's impoverished, mainly rural masses and a Bangkok-based elite impervious to their plight.

The protesters also consist of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted by a 2006 military coup for alleged corruption, and pro-democracy activists who opposed the army takeover.

"I'm asking you to be patient for one more week. We will achieve true democracy and better lives for Thais all over the country," Thaksin told his supporters via a video link.