THAILAND - Opposition to the controversial amnesty bill spread across the country yesterday, as a diverse group of people and organisations joined a nationwide campaign against a bill that would absolve all law violators involved in political conflicts since 2004. That would include politicians convicted of corruption and serious criminal offences.
Given the rising opposition to the bill - rushed through the House of Representatives last Friday - most senators are now likely to vote against it goes to the Uppher House, Senator Paiboon Nititawan said yesterday.
The 149-member Senate is scheduled to begin its reading of the bill on Monday.
Paiboon, who claims to have sounded out many senators, estimates that as many as 90 senators are likely vote against the bill. He said 60 of them had "shown their intention to oppose the bill from the very beginning" and that 30 others agreed to "vote for the dignity of the Senate by rejecting the bill".
He said the number could exceed 100 if public opposition against the bill remains strong.
If the bill is passed by the Senate and becomes law, it would pardon all crimes related to politics and some corruption cases committed between 2004 and 2013.
Thousands of people took to the streets in Bangkok yesterday, joining a march led by the opposition Democrat Party along the politically significant Rajdamnoen Avenue, while a lunch-break rally attracted a large crowd of mostly businesspeople and office workers on Silom Road in the heart of the capital's business district.
Similar protests were held in many other provinces, including Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Khon Kaen, Ranong, Phuket, Phang-nga, Yala and Phitsanulok.
Protest leaders of the Democrat-led rally yesterday decided to move their protest site from Samsen Railway Station to the Democracy Monument, sources said.