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Thai PM Calls for Halt to Street Protests

  • VOA News

Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called on protesters in Bangkok not to go through with a general strike expected to start Wednesday, and to end street protests involving thousands in Bangkok.

Protests erupted recently over a controversial amnesty bill for crimes connected to years of political turmoil. The amnesty could be applied to controversial former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as well as others.

The blanket amnesty bill was rejected by the Thai Senate on Monday, but the bill can be re-introduced in 180 days.

Opponents say the bill goes too far by granting amnesty for too many crimes, especially corruption-related offenses by former Prime Minister Thaksin, who is the current prime minister's brother. The measure could also clear the way for his return to Thailand from self-imposed exile.

The protests led by the opposition Democrat Party have been joined by business groups, universities and civil organizations.

The Yingluck government has been credited with overseeing a period of political stability since coming to office in 2011.
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