THAILAND - Apart from addressing social issues, the People's Democratic Reform Committee led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban has now started focusing on collecting donations.
During the march down Bangkok yesterday, Suthep was seen waving to supporters, accepting cash donations and putting them in a bag carried by his aide. He often returned the favour by posing for photographs and signing autographs.
Though the PDRC has marched through Bangkok's busy streets several times, it has managed to keep things cheerful and colourful. On Thursday, a troupe of cabaret dancers and lion dancers also joined in - all armed with whistles, of course.
Suthep set off with his supporters from Democracy Monument to the Asoke area on Thursday morning, calling on the general public to take part in the mass protests tomorrow. However, instead of offering to join the march, many supporters preferred to hand over cash.
These cash donations began after the Department of Special Investigation decided to freeze the bank accounts of 18 protest leaders. Through cash handed over at the march and via other means, Suthep managed to collect Bt600,000 in donations on Thursday alone.
Observing the rally, @Suloveboss tweeted: "Whoa! This is clearly a top-up mob. People hand over Bt20, Bt50, Bt100, Bt1,000 banknotes all the way at almost every minute. "
Another woman was seen holding up a banner that read: "I am pretty and rich and have come to top up money for Uncle Kamnan [Suthep]." She, along with two of her friends, had travelled to Silom from Phaholyothin to donate cash directly to PDRC leaders. "I have already donated drinking water and money at the rally sites. But today I want to add a little more, as Uncle Kamnan's accounts have been frozen," she said.
Likewise, protester Satawan Inthasa said she had travelled from Ekamai to Silom so she could hand cash over to Suthep in person. She said she had raised Bt10,000 for him so far.
While the march seemed lively, some bystanders did not seem that pleased. Many shop owners, such as tailors, rice retailers and pharmacists, on Silom Road said they wanted to remain neutral and not offer donations or join the Sunday march because their work was more important.
Another shop owner, who asked not to be named, said his business was being affected because not many customers could come to his store while the protesters were marching.
A tailor, who preferred to remain anonymous, said this protest was hurting his business very badly, adding that he was still recovering from the 2011 floods and the red-shirt protests in 2010.
Yet some people are keeping optimistic, saying such setbacks are a sacrifice they are willing to make in order to uproot a corrupt regime.