Opposition objects to concluding debate today


BANGKOK, Aug 7 – The opposition Democrat Party will launch a counter attack if the government insists on wrapping up the debate on the amnesty bill within today, a party executive said.

Prasert Pongsuwansiri, an opposition whip and Yala MP, said the Democrat Party would exercise its right to the full in the debate despite a timeframe set by the government whip to unwind it by today.

Parliamentary debate on the widely-protested amnesty bill is due to start at 1 pm today despite anti-legislation rallies on Bangkok’s streets by disgruntled activists.

Mr Prasert said the Democrat Party would have its measure ready if the government bloc stubbornly rams the bill through the first reading by today.

He would not elaborate but said the measure would be disclosed in due time.

He said the Democrats would ask the House to allow a live broadcast of the debate via the state-run Channel 11, adding that the telecast would not be a breach of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Metropolitan police spokesman Adul Narongsak said the overall situation at the two rally sites on Urupong Road and Lumpini Park was calm this morning.

Democrat MPs, led by party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and accompanied by a huge group of protesters, went on foot from the Urupong rally site to Parliament this morning.

The MPs were allowed to pass the barricade but escorted civilians were barred by police who said they were ordered not to allow “outsiders” from approaching the Parliament premise.

Meanwhile, leaders of the People’s Army against Thaksin Regime declared that they would remain at Lumpini Park rally site instead of moving to Parliament given a low turnout of protesters.

Police said about 700 people rallied at Lumpini this morning.

PATR core leader Taikorn Polsuwan said his group was closely monitoring the Democrat Party’s move from Urupong to Parliament and its negotiation with police to allow a group of civilians into the off-limits area under the ISA enforcement.

Three districts of Pomprab Satrupai, Dusit and Phra Nakhon have been declared off-limits by the government which has invokes the ISA in the area on August 1-10.

Mr Taikorn would not commit if the PATR would lead demonstrators from Lumpini and called on protesters to be patient while waiting for their fellow activists who would join them later in the day