Democrats declare non-stop protest against Amnesty Bill

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BANGKOK, Nov 1 – Opposition Democrat MPs and leading political activists went on stage near Samsen railway station last evening until early this morning and vowed to continue their protest until the government withdraws the controversial Amnesty Bill.

Former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban stood firm that the protesters would not move from their Samsen rally site to Parliament.

Tens of thousands of people joined the rally as leading Democrats gave hard-hitting speeches together with several civil activists society including Dr Tun Sitthisomwong and former deputy national police chief Vasit Dejkunchorn.

Democrat MP from Trang Satit Wongnhongtaey declared: “We will fight on until we win. We have totally overcome fear and will seek justice for the country.”

Mr Suthep said opposition MPs had no choice but to fight the Amnesty Bill head on and he had kept his promise by “blowing the whistle” to urge people to join the protest.

He announced that the rally stage belonged to the Thai people, and not the Democrat Party.

However, he said earlier that his party, which holds minority votes in the Lower House, would spearhead a demonstration outside Parliament.

Some leading Democrats who spoke from the stage were party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, Issara Somchai, former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, Thaworn Senneam, Witthaya Kaewparadai, Akom Engchuan and Rangsima Rodrasamee.

The rally at Samsen was held simultaneously with the parliamentary debate on the Amnesty Bill for its second and third readings.

Several MPs had to travel back and forth between the rally site and Parliament to show up at both locations.

At Ramathibodi Hospital on Rama VI Road, about two kilometres from Samsen rally site, a group of doctors and medical officials gathered and moved to join another protesting venue at Urupong intersection.

Emeritus Prof Pramuan Virutamasen and Dr Tun from Chulalongkorn Hospital led the group to give moral support to protesters at Urupong and later joined the Samsen rally.

Dr Pramuan said his group could no longer tolerate the present situation in which the rule of law was ignored.

The group said it would launch anti-government campaign at Silom Road, a Bangkok’s business centre, on the weekend.