Red Shirt MPs to abstain from Amnesty Bill vote

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BANGKOK, Oct 31 – Leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the Red Shirt group, will refrain from exercising their votes for the Amnesty Bill in the second and third readings, a ruling Pheu Thai MP has announced.

Weng Tochirakarn said his group would be willing to accept any punishment by the party for failing to vote in favour of the highly-criticised bill.

Dr Weng, also a leading UDD member, said the bill, which was drastically changed by the House scrutiny committee, was unacceptable

He said he has informed the Pheu Thai Party that the scrutiny committee’s revision contradicts the original bill passed earlier in the first reading by the House of Representatives.

The Amnesty Bill was initially proposed to Parliament by Pheu Thai MP Vorachai Hema.

Dr Weng said Mr Vorachai, Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua and himself were not engaged in conflicts with the Pheu Thai Party.

The revised bill is slated for the Lower House’s debate in the second reading today.

He said UDD members would adhere to Mr Vorachai’s original version but they would not urge people to chase out the government.

After the bill is passed in the third reading, the Democrat Party will definitely seek the Constitution Court’s ruling, thus delaying the Senate debate, said Mr Weng.

Metropolitan Police Commander Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said 36 companies of police would be ready to maintain public order at the Democrat-led rally site at Samsen railway station today.

Significant government buildings in the area will be guarded to prevent untoward incidents and two companies of police would facilitate traffic, he said.

Whether all the police in the 36 companies will be dispatched depends on the situation but preparations were made at the order of the national police chief, he said.