Political activists set Sunday for show of force against Amnesty Bill

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BANGKOK, Oct 21 – Several Bangkok civil society groups are voicing opposition to the government’s move for an Amnesty Bill favouring, among others, Thailand’s ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In a press conference at a Bangkok hotel yesterday, leaders of the groups said they would hold a major assembly on Sunday to discuss their next move.

Leading activists, Suriyasai Katasila of the Green Group, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, a former leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, Nitithorn Lamlua, adviser to the Network of Students and People for Thailand’s Reform, Gen Preecha Iamsupan from the People’s Army against the Thaksin Regime, and several other groups met the media yesterday.

Mr Suriyasai said they would submit letters to a number of foreign embassies in Bangkok tomorrow to explain to the international community Thai people’s views on the Preah Vihear temple dispute between Thailand and Cambodia.

Mr Somkiat said it would be up the opposition Democrat Party itself on whether its members would join the upcoming rally against the Amnesty Bill.

“We will make clear to them (the Democrats) that the ultimate goal of our movement is for a national reform. We will possibly widen our rally without having to wait for the Amnesty Bill to pass the third reading,” he said.

He said Sunday’s meeting would consist of 500-1,000 people and it would end on the same day without blocking traffic.