When You Try To Please Everyone

Thai soldiers doze outside a Bangkok go go bar.

Even the blind can see this one. The main purpose of the Amnesty Bill is to see former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra return home with corruption charges wiped and his fortune restored.

In its initial draft, the Amnesty Bill would have freed members of the public charged over political violence since the 2006 coup. A parliamentary committee widened the draft to include soldiers and politicians who oversaw deadly crackdowns on protesters, and people charged on the basis of investigations by state agencies established after the coup.

The amendments angered Thaksin’s opponents, who claimed the law would whitewash crimes he committed while in power. Some members of a pro-Thaksin group known as the Red Shirts also criticized the bill for protecting opposition Democrat party leaders who ordered the army to use live ammunition to disperse protesters while in power in 2010.

“This amnesty bill has been carefully drafted by the Pheu Thai party to help Thaksin,” Abhisit said in a speech to supporters at Democracy Monument. “So we cannot trust their words until they withdraw this law from the parliament.”

For those not in the know, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy have been charged with murder in connection with a crackdown on anti-government protesters in 2010. He rejected the Amnesty Bill as he seems confident that the court will acquit him.

The moral of the story? Don’t try too hard to please your enemies. Your supporters may not like it.

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© Chan Joon Yee

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