With the same ghoulish intrigue that children pull the wings off a fly, the legs off spiders or as motorists slow to look at a scene of a bad accident, I waited to see the pictures from last night's demonstration in Thailand. The "red shirt" wearing supporters of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra promised the world the sight of a million cubic centimetres of blood being drawn from the arms of his supporters and then thrown over Government House to demand that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva call an immediate election. A million is a bold figure that I tried to picture; a thousand cubic centimetres, one litre, so one thousand litre cartons of milk. A more compact notion of the volume would be to visualise a cubic metre of blood; or in more practical terms in the UK the average bath size is 140 litres, so that is just over seven baths filled with blood.
A supporter of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra donates blood during a gathering in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Anti-government protesters will collect one million cubic centimetres of blood to pour outside the Government House in Bangkok, in a symbolic move to denounce the government as part of their demonstration to call for fresh elections. REUTERS/Sukree Sukplang
The pictures are amazing. The frenzy of the demonstrators carrying plastic containers full of human blood. The lines of riot police (what was going through their minds?) facing the crowd. And then suddenly the emotional release as the blood is actually poured at the gates of Government House, leaving a growing crimson pool of human blood spreading towards the feet of the police and towards the buildings of government.
Riot soldiers and policemen stand guard as supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra rally outside the Government house in Bangkok March 16, 2010. Thousands of protesters in Thailand donated blood and poured it later outside the premier's office on Tuesday, a "sacrifice for democracy" aimed at energising their movement after the government refused to step down. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom
Supporters of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra hold canisters with human blood before pouring it outside the Government house in Bangkok March 16, 2010. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj