News / Asia

Pressure Builds in Thailand over Proposed Amnesty Bill

FILE - An anti-government protester wearing a mask painted in the colors of the Thai national flag looks on as riot police officers stand guard outside the parliament in Bangkok, Aug. 7, 2013.
FILE - An anti-government protester wearing a mask painted in the colors of the Thai national flag looks on as riot police officers stand guard outside the parliament in Bangkok, Aug. 7, 2013.
Ron Corben
Regular street protests have returned to downtown Bangkok as thousands rallied against a controversial blanket amnesty bill for crimes connected to years of political turmoil. The measure could also clear the way for the return of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been living in self imposed exile since 2008. However, even some former Thaksin supporters say the bill goes too far.
 
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra tried to defuse tensions on Tuesday by pledging her government would follow whatever decision the Thai Senate makes on the bill after it passed the House of Representatives late Friday night. However, she also expressed support for the measure, saying that it will help fulfill her party's goal of bringing political reconciliation to Thailand.
 
Opponents say the bill goes too far by granting amnesty for too many crimes, especially corruption-related offenses by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother.
 
Protests led by the opposition Democrat Party have been joined by business groups, universities and civil organizations in opposing the measure.
 
Jurin Laksanavisit, a member of the Democrat Party's parliamentary wing, welcomed the growing numbers turning out at rallies.
 
"We try hard, we are trying hard. So many people here and we hope to do our duty best," said Jurin.
 
The bill's initial version had bipartisan parliamentary support and was aimed at pardoning low key protestors and others associated with protests and acts of violence dating back from 2004 until August 2013.
 
However, the later draft that was passed by the lower house of parliament on Friday includes amnesty for protest organizers and government leaders, such as Thaksin.
 
For many family members of victims killed in the violence, the bill means they will never get justice for the death of loved ones.
 
That has drawn opposition from members of the pro-Thaksin Red Shirt movement, who have called for greater accountability in the deaths of protestors in 2010.
 
One protestor, Khun Boon, says his concern is that the legislation will undermine the rule of law in Thailand.
 
"We want to show to the government that we don't want this amnesty bill. The process of this bill is not quite correct. We are concerned about the rule of law. The rule of law will be destroyed completely if this bill is finally passed," said Boon.
 
Other protesters are motivated by the push to prevent former prime minister Thaksin from evading justice for corruption linked to his time in office and returning to Thailand.
 
Protester Goy Putachartyrajakul pointed out that Thaksin appears to be the main beneficiary of the amnesty.
 
"I have to decide to show up [and protest] because this situation is more than just shooting or corruption, its Thaksin Shinawatra - he doesn't deserve to come back home there is not home for him [here] anymore," said Goy.
 
The Yingluck government has been credited with overseeing a period of political stability since coming to office in 2011, but Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Chulalongkorn University, feels the amnesty bill and the strong opposition it has provoked in recent days are a challenge for her administration.
 
"The amnesty gambit has undermined Thaksin and destabilized the Yingluck government. It makes Thaksin more distant to return to Thailand than ever. It will be more difficult for him now despite the legality of the amnesty, even if it passes, even if it becomes law. In practice, he would have a very difficult time in Thailand functionally because he would have many enemies," said Thitinan.
 
However, Thitinan believes Thaksin and his political allies may still hold the political upper hand as he remains popular in rural areas. Some suspect his party could call for early polls in 2014 and strengthen its standing in parliament.
 
The amnesty bill heads to the Upper House of the Senate next week, where its fate remains unclear. The Democrat Party has said that if the Senate accepts the bill, it will challenge the amnesty's legality in the Constitutional Court.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jo from: Bangkok
November 06, 2013 11:39 PM
This amnesty bill has been planned and conspired for years obviously to benefit some politicians in Thailand who were convicted and/or charged on various big corruption cases and crimes.
If they can get this bill going, those politicians will be free from any convictions and charges and some will even get the money back.

Don't know if any government of any country ever dare to propose amnesty bill like this to hurt their own country and people.

The content of this bill is against the principle of any religious in this world.
In the future, how do we teach our children to know about good and bad things ?


by: 1
November 06, 2013 9:34 PM
Someone want to make the country become a place where those who violate the law in serious crime don't have to receive any punishment. And sane people can't accept that.


by: surasid sonsomsook from: Bangkok
November 06, 2013 8:24 AM
It seems terribly unfair that our beloved country became disunited because of personal vendetta/ conviction between two major opposing political parties in Thailand. However,I feel certain that the Yingluck's two years have proved positive results so far even though her recent Amnesty Bill has provoked a challenge to her administration. Democrat Party strategy of continued blaming Thaksin for all his past bad deeds have some how twisted and interfere with Yingluck's good intention of trying to reunited the people of Thailand together again.

As we all know as long as the ill feelings are still in the air with no sides trying to take one step back and pardon or try to forgive one another.
Time is running out and certainly passing on and before we know it we could end up in the bottom place standing in SE.Asia.
It is time that we should all act as matured people before our children are getting all the wrong ideas and actually believed in all the present political play acting...


by: T from: Ny
November 05, 2013 10:50 PM
It's not thousand people, it' s millions that come out. Do your homework and reflect the real picture bext time please.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid