A young boy protests against Thailand’s proposed bill that would grant blanket amnesty to all law offenders before and after the 2006 coup. The bill has passed the House of Representatives. (The Nation)
Yingluck Shinawatra’s government is walking a tightrope as opposition against the Amnesty Bill has now gained momentum with various groups, including the Democrat Party and many red shirts groups who formerly supported her, openly launching their campaigns to tear down the explosive draft law.
The ruling Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile, will convene a meeting today to discuss on measures needed to address the tense situation.
The Democrat Party has staged its rally against what it calls the “whitewashing law” in Bangkok’s Samsen Area for days already. Now, it has encouraged the like minded to join its movement.
“We are pleased to welcome all demonstrators who are against the Amnesty Bill,” Bangkok Democrat MP Ekanat Prompan said yesterday.
The Democrat Party’s rallies against the controversial bill have now spread to various other provinces as well. A number of demonstrators, for example, yesterday attended the rallies in Phuket and Surat Thani.
Somkid Lertpaitoon, Rector of Thammasat University said law academics, lectures, students and officials in the university expressed their opposition to the amnesty bill as it was unconstitutional and against rule of law. The group of 578 academics of the university who signed a petition said they were worried about the conflict in the society. They urged parliamentarians to stop their effort to pass the bill into the law.
Chamlong Srimaung, former leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, led his protesters under People’s Army against Thaksin regime from Lumpuni Park to join the group of student and people network for Thailand reform at Uripong insection in their protest against the amnesty bill.
A red shirt leader Sombat Boon-ngarm-anong will organise the “10,000 Up” rally at the Ratchaprasong Intersection to denounce the Amnesty Bill. The bill was unfair and unjust for the red-shirt protesters who died in the crackdown since responsible persons were granted amnesty, he said.
Thida Tavornset leader of Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship said a group of some 3000 red shirt would come to Bangkok for a training at Don Muang Technical College and they have liberty to join the protest against the bill.
Police warn protest leaders to move cautiously, as they will be held responsible for what happen.
“Protest leaders must be aware that they must be ready to take responsibility for any consequence,” Police Spokesman Maj General Piya Utayo said yesterday. He is also the spokesman for the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (Capo).
He said police were now quite worried about the growing possibility that the opponents to the bill would be marching to various venues in Bangkok.
“The marches will affect Bangkok’s traffic. They also raise the possibility of confrontations with people who think differently,” Piya said.
Capo’s deputy spokesman Maj. Gen. Anucha Ramayanantana said National Police Commissioner General Adul Saengsingkaew had instructed all police units to closely monitor the rallies both in Bangkok and in provinces.
National Security Council secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabut, so far, said there was no need to invoke the Internal Security Act to control the situation at the moment. He suggested that the turnout at rally sites was not really that huge.
Democrat Party’s deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot said his party would work with all people’s networks to stop the Amnesty Bill.
“With the legislation of this bill, the government is destroying the good governance and good principle in the country. If the bill is passed, corruption cases between 2004 and August 2013 will be dropped,” he said.
Alongkorn said the Amnesty Bill, if legislated, would run against the UN Convention against Corruption that Thailand had ratified.
“Thailand’s credibility will suffer badly then,” he said, “The country can’t give amnesty to the corrupt. Otherwise, the corrupt will keep doing the wrong things. They will think only by acquiring state power, their wrongdoings will be nullified.”
Alongkorn said the Democrat Party, in collaboration with allies, would hold various rallies to inform people of what the Amnesty Bill would bring.
According to him, the rally will be held in Phetchaburi today, in Trat tomorrow, and in Chon Buri on Wednesday and in Pathum Thani on Thursday.
“We will go to all provinces,” Alongkorn said.
Pheu Thai Party’s spokesman Prompong Nopparit, meanwhile, said Pheu Thai MPs would today have a meeting as they would have an assignment to explain to people why the Amnesty Bill should be passed.
“The Amnesty Bill is based on the principle of forgiving so that the country can move ahead,” he said.
Prompong also attacked the Democrat Party for orchestrating many rallies in the South.
“The tourism season for the South has just begun and relevant entrepreneurs are now worried,” he said. (The Nation)