News / Asia

    Thousands of Protesters March in Bangkok Against Amnesty Bill

    Anti-government demonstrators fill up a street during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 4, 2013.
    Anti-government demonstrators fill up a street during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Nov. 4, 2013.
    Reuters
    Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Thai capital on Monday after lawmakers approved a draft political amnesty bill late Friday night that could allow the return of self-exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, one of Thailand's most polarizing figures.   
     
    The bill's opponents say it's a thinly veiled attempt by the ruling Pheu Thai Party and its leader, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin’s younger sister, to whitewash the crimes of her billionaire brother. Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup in 2006 and has lived abroad since 2008 to escape corruption charges.
     
    Protesters expressed frustration with Yingluck's government.
     
    “There are [so] many issues [resulting from this government] that I can't stand it anymore. The things about corruption and amending the constitution. I just want our constitution sacred and just. The law should be powerful enough to enforce on everyone, not just some,” said an unidentified protester.
     
    “When you look at the number of people here who are against the amnesty law, the government should be convinced to pull out the proposed law. The government has the majority [of] seats in Parliament [so is able] to solve this. The senators in the upper house are another branch who can stop this. They should come out to show their views and to vote against the law when it's read in the upper house,” said Nipit Intharasombat, a member of the Democrat Party.
     
    Although it could be months before the bill becomes law, the protests in Bangkok by Thaksin's opponents, including royalist groups and members of the opposition Democrat Party, threaten to disturb months of relative calm in a country scarred by bloody unrest in 2010.
     
    Thaksin, who won elections in 2001 and 2005 by landslides, remains a populist hero among the poor, whose votes helped Yingluck and her party sweep elections in 2011.
     
    However, corruption scandals and alleged abuses of power steadily eroded his popularity among Bangkok's middle classes. That was compounded by royalist accusations that Thaksin was undermining the country's powerful monarchy, which he denied.
     
    Since fleeing, Thaksin has hovered ghost-like over Thai politics, setting the broad policy lines for the government.

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    Comments
         
    by: chief from: sg
    November 09, 2013 3:02 AM
    what the latest now. Today is the 9th Nov 2013.? Did Yingluck withdraw those bills yesterday.

    by: nada from: UK
    November 06, 2013 10:27 AM
    FYI, if this bill was passed and became the law, Thanksin , being 'whitewashed', would have his seized asset of equivalent to about 1,600 millions US dollars++ returned as well. Beside, when this Amnesty Bill was passed in the lower Parliament, it was at 4 o'clock in the morning, which not only the debate was intentionally prolonged so that the members of the House of Representative became exhausted: some knocked off or even left, but the Bill was voted right after the members who belongs to the opposition party walked off the room after having claimed such the biased act of the speaker of Parliament, and hence the vote to the Amnesty Bill of 310:0.

    by: Seksan from: USA
    November 06, 2013 6:31 AM
    Government that won seats from buying votes is inglorious ! What the prime minister tried to do was nothing but to help bringing her brother back to Thailand and spending budgets on non senses stuffs and projects. She's dragging Thailand to hell.. The Shinawatra family should leave Thailand for good.

    by: surasid sonsomsook from: Bangkok
    November 05, 2013 3:20 AM
    There are always two sides on every coin; Yingluck half way through her first term as Prime Minister would be very silly to jeopodize her term just intentionally only think of getting her brother back from exiled..the main aim of Amnesty Bill is trying to get the two major camp to become united and forgive one another of all the past conflicts and start off with a clean slate in the New Year...
    At any rate it is still to pass the proceeding of the House of Senate's approval,rejection and or recommendations..

    by: Suandy Tjoa from: Medan, Indonesia
    November 04, 2013 11:14 PM
    … who for who..., all simply a question to the Morality of the “Ruling Government, The Sister Sinawatra?” when the outcome is clearly shown worldwide … for the return of, A Brother, Thaksin & his money … at the expense of A Nation ? … can anyone stop this ? In Thailand or anywhere … ? as it may happen everywhere ...

    by: Nipaporn from: Thailand
    November 04, 2013 3:51 AM
    Amnesty bill ?
    You better take it from Devils,they will pass you into the limbo , not from Thais who belong to The King.

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