A quick follow up on the protests in Thailand I mentioned a few days back:
The AP reports:
Thai lawmakers gave initial approval Thursday to a controversial bill to grant amnesty to people charged with political offenses during turmoil that began with a 2006 military coup.
The lower house of parliament voted 300 to 124 to accept the government-sponsored bill in principle after a two-day debate. Critics of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra fear it is an initial move toward allowing his return from overseas, where he fled to avoid jail after a conflict of interest conviction.
Opposition from outside parliament was unexpectedly weak, and fears of major clashes involving street protests were not realized. The fate of Thaksin, who was ousted by the coup after being accused of corruption and disrespect for Thailand’s revered monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, arouses fierce passions that sometimes have erupted into violence.
Meanwhile, The Guardian has a story on the protests, along with some analysis from Thitinan Pongsudhirak:
Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, said the protests demonstrated a disenchantment” with the government but it was highly unlikely that they would overthrow it.
“The protest really is designed to unseat the government. But the anti-Thaksin coalition is not united, there is unlikely to be any intervention by the military or the judiciary, and there is not enough traction, not enough numbers [from the protesters], for them to really succeed,” he said.
The BBC has a video report, including remarks from former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
And here’s a roundup of media coverage from Bangkok Pundit.
And finally, The Bangkok Post reports today that:
Authorities were confident they could easily handle the group of anti-government demonstrators still camping at Lumpini Park on Friday following the lifting of the Internal Security Act (ISA), saying they present no threat.