The threats made in recent political battles embody the Thai conception of protest, not as an admirable component of peaceful democracy, but as the last act of a people pushed too far by others.
Thus, these passionate announcements are indications that the polite conventions that should exist in society are about to break down. It is also usually the case that violent protesters claim they were always nonviolent–it was just others who forced them to act violently.
In the case of the Red Shirts, such threats were used to push the agenda of a single politician–Thaksin.
Such an eventuality was long a fear in the Thai political world. This fear was that a disgruntled politician might assemble an occupying protest group to push his point in Bangkok. In the past, political figures as diverse as Chavolit Yongjiyut and Suthep Thaugsuban have also openly hinted they might do this.
Opponents of Thaksin have been quick to remind the public of these incendiary quotes, like in this example here from Post Today, May 24, 2017.
The statements here were made at various times and at various locations, but Red Shirts invariably claim that these quotes are taken out of context or are otherwise misunderstood.
1. “If there is something happening, violence happening to the Red Shirts in Bangkok, the Red Shirts upcountry must to go to the city hall…”
Thaksin Shinawatra, 15 Mar 2553 
[City halls in several provinces were burned down by Thaksin supporters after the military forcibly cleared Red Shirts in Bangkok in 2010. Red Shirt community radio stations did openly call on supporters to burn regional city halls.]
2. “…If you seize the power, we will burn down this country. Let’s burn it down. I will take responsibility…”
Nattawut Saikua, Deputy Minister of Commerce, 27 Jan 2553 
[The idea of a leader telling his followers or employees to do something outside the bounds of law and that he would take responsibility for it is a common concept in the Thai world.
This quote was also a challenge to the military. While the extended occupation and protests in Bangkok were meant to force the government to resign and new elections to be called, it might also provoke a military coup. This quote was meant to warn off the military from taking action.
“Deputy Minister of Commerce” is used here to remind people that the Pheu Thai Party later gave this person an important post in the government.]
3. “…come together, bring a glass bottle to fill with petrol. If a million people come, we get a million liters of petrol. Then, Bangkok would become sea of flames for sure…”
Arisman Pongruangrong, 29 Jan 2553 
4. “Be informed that a fire will be in every square inch of Thailand…”
Veera Musikapong, 21 Mar 2553 
[Like the other similar quotes, these are meant to warn off any attempt to forcibly remove the protesters from their Bangkok camps.]
5. “…All Red Shirts upcountry must listen to this mission. Please go to the city hall and wait. Once a crackdown takes place, then we can decide immediately…”
Jatuporn Prompan, Pheu Thai party-list MP, 3 Apr 2553 
[Refers to the threat to burn down provincial city halls if the military cracked down on Red Shirt protests.
“Party-list MP” is added to his name to emphasize how the Pheu Thai Party made all the top Red Shirt leaders party list MPs. This meant they would be immune from legal cases as long as the Pheu Thai held power and underlined the Red Shirt movement’s function as political muscle for Thaksin’s political ambitions.]
6. “Red Shirt people are very scared. If there is a shooting, the Red Shirt people will run into Gaysorn, Paragon, run into the hotels. There are several kinds of being scared. Some may run to brand name bags, some run to jewelry, gold and diamonds. Some may run into the mall or some set a fire…”
Nattawut Saikua, Deputy Minister of Commerce, 8 Apr 2553 
[Many of the Red Shirt threats were wrapped up in the pomposity of “big men” having fun speaking to a crowd. Here, the speaker, in a half-joking tone, says fleeing Red Shirts might loot nearby luxury boutiques.]
7. “I would like to ask you to stop using the tact of burning the country because the Red Shirts didn’t do it. Today, I would like to announce that I will give 10 million baht to people who can provide information to arrest the person who burned Central World.”
Thaksin Shinawatra, 6 May 2556