Govt warns of tough action if protests escalate irrationally

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BANGKOK, Nov 9 – The government will fully exercise its powers if protests against the amnesty bill escalate to incite purging of the present administration, according to a prime minister’s close aide.

Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary general to the prime minister, stood firm that the government would not disperse protesters whose demonstrations are in accordance with the democratic system.

The prime minister has made it clear that the controversy on amnesty bill has ended and the Senate is in the process of  rejecting the legislation, he said.

He urged senators, especially members of the “40 Senators Group” to join the Upper House’s debate on the amnesty bill to cool down the political temperature.

The Senate’s session to debate the amnesty bill yesterday was called off when less than half of the 149-member Upper House turned up. The session was rescheduled to Monday.

Dragging the conflict until next Monday would cause damages to the country, said Mr Suranand who brushed aside the possibility of dispatching military forces to deal with demonstrators.

Regarding an announcement by Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban to set up a people’s tribunal to resolve the amnesty controversy, Mr Suranand said it was inappropriate to raise the idea of a kangaroo court when all parties concerned should follow the legal procedure.

He said he believed a rally by Red Shirt demonstrators in Bangkok on Sunday will be organised peacefully.

Those who successively hold undemocratic activities or attempt to topple the government will face tough action, he warned.

Mr Suranand said the prime minister would refrain from travelling abroad, given Monday’s verdict of the International Court of Justice on the disputed land near the Preah Vihear temple.