Interior Minister: Protesters’ goal is to topple govt

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BANGKOK, Nov 8 – Anti-government protesters set Monday as their deadline for withdrawal of the amnesty bill to coincide with a verdict by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the Preah Vihear temple dispute, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said today.

He said the government has been aware of the opponents’ “genuine” intention since the start of their protests against the Amnesty Bill.

Their ultimate goal is to topple the government and they are expanding their protests to reach that point, said Mr Charupong.

He said the government’s decision to suspend all amnesty-related legislation was aimed at eliminating disunity and conflicts in the country but the government’s intention has been distorted

“The government has bowed to the point that it is engaged in conflicts with Red Shirt people. The opponents, however, would not give up and announced that the amnesty bill must be rejected on Nov 11 – the day that the Preah Vihear border dispute is decided by the World Court,” said Mr Charupong.

“If the ICJ’s verdict is not in favour of Thailand, the protesters will use it as a condition to topple the government.”

The interior minister called on protesters to concentrate on the principle of their demonstrations – that is to kill the Amnesty Bill to which the government has already agreed.

An informed source said the Interior Ministry has issued a confidential order to all provincial governors, instructing them to produce banners which read “Be kind and forgive for Thailand to overcome conflicts” to be set up in public places.

The banners are already seen in some provinces.

Members of the Village Leaders Association of Thailand are scheduled to visit the interior minister today to give their moral support.