Phuket protesters take stand against amnesty bill

PHUKET: Over 5,000 protesters rallied against the amnesty bill yesterday, blocking Surin Road in front of Phuket Provincial Hall as they listened to democrat leaders vehemently denounce the bill and the Yingluck administration.

The protesters, mostly from Phuket and Phang Nga, signed their names in denouncement of the recently passed, controversial bill (story here) during the six-hour protest.

“I cannot tolerate these travesties anymore,” said Phuket Democrat MP Anchalee Tephabutra. “I don’t like being a protest leader, but justice commands me to do it. We have to show our power to let them know that we don’t want amnesty.”

MP Anchalee listed the legal cases against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra that would be cancelled by the bill, including a “wealth from suspicious means” case that resulted in freezing Mr Thaksin’s bank assets.

“If amnesty is allowed, we will have to return 46 billion baht to Thaksin at 7.5 per cent interest, a total of 60 billion baht. That’s about 1,000 baht from each of us. Is that fair to us?” she asked.

MP Anchalee was equally vociferous about Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is Thaksin’s younger sister, telling the crowd that Ms Yingluck had taken credit for Phuket projects initiated and approved by former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The group planned to pass their objection to the bill to the Prime Minister via Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut. Because the governor did not appear at the protest, the group scheduled another protest for this morning.

However, the morning protest at Provincial Hall was cancelled after the regional protesters decided to join others against the amnesty bill from across the country in Bangkok.

— Saran Mitrarat

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