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Protests continue despite Phue Thai backdown (updated)

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The protesters are not going home and many are on the march at this moment. Demands are getting stronger despite the impending rejection of the amnesty bill by the Senate and the promised withdrawal of all similar bills. 

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Evening update

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday called on anti-amnesty bill demonstrators to stop protesting against her government and let the country move forward, after the House of Representatives agreed to withdraw all six amnesty related bills from its agenda.

In a speech broadcast live on television, Ms Yingluck reiterated that the government's planned amnesty move had ended. She asked opponents of the blanket amnesty bill to stop rallying because the country had been greatly bruised from political conflicts in recent years.

The rain has been falling non-stop at the Democrat rally at Democracy Monument tonight. THANARAK KHOONTON

Later, at a very wet Democracy Monument, Democrat rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban showed no interest in heeding the prime minister's call for a halt to the protest. Instead, he called for more and more people to come out, promising them more  tents and better conditions.

He told the large crowd that at the Monday deadline set in yesterday's ultimatum, the Ratchadamneon site would become a people's court. They, the people, will decide who is right and who is wrong and what should be done to rectify the wrongs that have occurred.

Early evening update:

The House of Representatives this afternoon agreed, by a 310-1 vote, to withdraw six amnesty-related bills from the House agenda.

Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich on Thursday about-faced and called a meeting of the Senate to deliberate the amnesty bill tomorrow, instead of Monday, amid pressure from senators in the Group of 40 and continuing political protests on the streets.

A view of the Ratchaprasong whistle-blowing rally. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

The anti-amnesty protesters who gathered at Asoke during lunchtime have gone to the Ratchaprasong intersection for a second rally, which began at 5pm.

Noon update: Protesters on the march

The Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand are a colourful sight as they march towardd the Ratchadamnoen Avenue area. TAWEECHAI TAWATPAKORN

The police were clearly not going to allow the marchers into sensitive government areas. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Two big marches are taking place in the same area today near the sensitive Government House and Parliament area. One comes from the Uruphong intersection and its first objective is to submit a petition to the United Nations. A second is a large contingent of students, staff and alumni of Thammasat university who apparently want to do the same at the parliament building. Both have been stopped by police and negotiations are now taking place.

12:30 Interestingly, the negotiator for the Thammasat group is former Asean Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan. His influence was not enough to get past the police, however, and that group is reported to be returning to campus have read their petition to the public. Dr Surin was allowed in the UN building, however, to read the statement and give an interview.

Former ASEAN secretary-general led the Thammasat march earlier today. PANUMAS SANGUANWONG

Meanwhile, there is another Silom-type rally taking place at the Asoke BTS station.

According to Thai PBS, Senator Direk Tungfang of Nonthaburi has just said there will shortly be a meeting to decide whether to move up the Senate meeting on the amnesty bill to tomorrow instead of Friday. This could mean one of the suggestions made by Democrat Suthep Thuagsuban might be under consideration. See the end of today's story for details.

1:00  TNN 24 reports that some sort of agreement has been reached in the Makhawan Rangsan bridge area (by the UN building) between the Uruphong protest group and police, but protest leaders were unable to prevent some unruly participants from creating a disturbance behind police lines. It was quickly controlled by police, the report said. (A later report said that one policeman was serious injured by protesters and they are relying on surveillance footage to catch those reponsible.)

Morning story

This area near the Democracy Monument is likely to be home for many protesters for at least a few more days. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

Govt given ultimatum on amnesty

Protest grows, Pheu Thai withdraws six other bills


The Democrats have given an ultimatum to the Pheu Thai Party to scrap the controversial amnesty bill by Monday.

"By 6pm on Monday, the bill must be rid from parliament. Otherwise, we will do what we have to do," Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, who is leading the protest on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, announced to demonstrators there.

The ultimatum came after the protest against the blanket amnesty bill escalated yesterday.

Planning for a possible lengthy stay, the Democrat party has erected a large covering for its protest site at Democracy monument. THANARK KHOONTON

Bangkok Post reporters put the number of demonstrators at Ratchadamnoen Avenue at 20,000, up from about 10,000 the day before while the Democrat Party claimed there were 50,000.

Although the government has announced it will not resume efforts to push through the blanket amnesty bill if it is rejected by the Senate, the Democrat Party is not convinced.

On her Facebook page yesterday, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said if it fails to pass its first reading in the Senate the government will not pursue the blanket bill.

If the Senate rejects the bill and sends it back to the House, the government will have to wait 180 days to resuscitate it.

However, Prime Minister Yingluck said the government had decided against taking that step.

"After 180 days have passed, the Pheu Thai Party will not revive and adopt the bill and will not issue an executive decree [to enforce it]," she said.

Government whips and Phue Thai representatives announce the withdrawal of amnesty-unity-related legislation at parliament yesterday. CHANAT KATANYU

She stressed that the government has paid heed to the people's voice and it will not hurt their feelings. She also insisted the government will not use force against the demonstrators.

Ms Yingluck has cancelled scheduled visits to eastern provinces today and will chair a meeting of security agencies to handle the protest.

The intensification of the rally yesterday also led Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Vejjayachai to read out a party statement at a press conference yesterday saying the party would ask its MPs to withdraw any amnesty and unity bills pending House deliberation.

"The party wants to promise the people that it will not propose or endorse any [further] bills that will stir up controversy," the statement read.

Mr Suthep last night demanded the Yingluck government remove the clauses in the blanket bill which grant an amnesty to suspects in serious crimes and corruption cases instead of killing it in the first reading in the Upper House.

He said despite repeated promises by the Pheu Thai Party that it will not enact the bill if it is rejected by the Senate, he said: "We don't believe it."

Instead of rejecting the bill, Mr Suthep demanded the Upper House resolve tomorrow that the bill be considered a financial bill which requires the prime minister to endorse it and send it back to the Lower House.

Then, Mr Suthep said, the parliament president could convene all 36 House committees on Monday to also resolve the bill is a financial bill and return it to Ms Yingluck, refusing to endorse it.

In another option, the Upper House could tomorrow approve the bill and then amend it to grant an amnesty only to people who participated in rallies without committing serious crimes. In so doing, it would not grant an amnesty to those responsible for killing protest participants and security officials, and those who committed corruption, Mr Suthep said.

"After that, the Upper House [could] enact the amended bill after three readings in one day and the Lower House [could] convene on Monday to endorse the bill as amended by the Upper House," he said.

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about-face: a complete change of opinion or behaviour - การเปลี่ยนใจ

adopt: to accept or to start using something new - นำมาใช้

agenda: a list of things that people will discuss at a meeting - ระเบียบวาระ

alumni: the former male and female students of a school, college or university - ศิษย์เก่า

amend: to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - แก้ไข

amid: happening while something else is happening - ท่ามกลาง

amnesty: a situation in which a government agrees not to punish, or to no longer punish, people who have committed a particular crime - การนิรโทษกรรม

apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา

bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

blanket: affecting or aimed at everyone or everything equally, even when this is not sensible or fair - ครอบคลุม, กว้าง

broadcast: to send out a programme on television or radio - กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว

bruised: injured; damaged - บวมช้ำ, ถูกทำร้าย

campus: the buildings of a university or college and the land around them - พื้นที่ที่เป็นที่ตั้งของมหาวิทยาลัย

claim: to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - อ้าง

clause: an item in a legal document that says that a particular thing must or must not be done - มาตรา

commit: to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด

conditions: the circumstances or situation in which people live, work or do things - เหตุการณ์, สภาพการ, สถานการณ์

conflict: an angry disagreement between people or groups - ความขัดแย้ง

consider: to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า

consideration: giving careful thought to something before making a decision - การคิดพิจารณา

contingent: a group of people who have something in common - คณะ

controversial: causing disagreement or disapproval - ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง

convene: to call a meeting - เรียกประชุม

convince: to make somebody/yourself believe that something is true; to persuade somebody to do something - ทำให้เชื่อ, ทำให้แน่ใจ, ชักจูง

deadline: a time or day by which something must be done - เส้นตาย

deliberation: considering or discussing something - การปรึกษาหารือ

demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ

demonstrators: people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something - ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง

disband: (of a group) to stop working together - สลายการชุมนุม

disturbance: an occasion during which people behave in a noisy or violent way in a public place - ก่อความไม่สงบ หรือรบกวนประชาชน

enact: to pass into law - ออกกฎหมาย

endorse: to support; to approve - รับรอง, เห็นชอบ

enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม

erect: to put the parts of something together so that it stands upright - ตั้งขึ้น

escalate: to make something increase in amount or strength; to make larger; to scale up; to ramp up - ยกระดับ; เสริม

executive decree: an official order made by a leader or a government - พระราชกำหนด

financial: involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน

grant: to officially give something - ให้

handle: to be able deal with a situation - ควบคุมได้, จัดการได้

heed: to consider someone’s advice or warning and do what they suggest - ปฏิบัติตามคำแนะนำ

House of Representatives: the main lawmaking body in Thailand, consisting of 500 members - สภาผู้แทนราษฎร

influence: the power to have an effect on people or things - อิทธิพล

insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

intensification: causing to increase in degree or strength - การทำให้แรงขึ้น,การทำให้หนาแน่นขึ้น

issue: to officially announce or give out - ออก, ออกประกาศ, ออกคำสั่ง

legislation: a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament - กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย

live: happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier - ถ่ายทอดสด

Lower House: House of Representatives - สภาผู้แทนราษฎร

meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

monument: a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน

negotiations: formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง

objective: what you plan to achieve; goal; aim; purpose - เป้าหมาย

option: a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation - ทางเลือก

otherwise: if not; used for saying that if one thing does not happen or is not true, something else will happen, usually something bad - มิฉะนั้น, ไม่เช่นนั้น

participate: to take part in something - เข้าร่วม

pay heed: to pay attention to/to follow someone's wishes, demands, etc. - ให้ความสนใจกับ, เอาใจใส่

pending: waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed - ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง

petition: a request of someone in authority to do something - คำร้อง

press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว

pressure: trying to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - ความกดดัน, แรงกระตุ้น, การบีบบังคับ

propose: to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

pursue: to try to achieve something - ดำเนินตาม, พยายามเพื่อให้ได้มาซึ่ง

rectify: to put right something that is wrong - ทำให้ถูกต้อง

reiterate: to repeat something in order to emphasise it - พูดซ้ำ ย้ำ

reject: to not agree with - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

remove: to take something away - เอาออกจาก

reporter: someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว

representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน

resistance: opposition to some or something - การต่อต้าน

resolve: to make a formal decision - ตัดสิน, มีมติ

responsible for: deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - มีความรับผิดชอบ

resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง

resuscitate : to make an unconscious person start to breathe again; to revive; to bring back to life - ช่วยชีวิต, ช่วยให้่ฟื้นชีพ, ฟื้นฟู, ทำให้เกิดขึ้นอีก

revive: to come or bring something back to existence or use - ฟื้นฟู, ทำให้เกิดขึ้นอีก

rid: to cause to be free of somebody/something that has been annoying you or that you do not want - ขจัด, กำจัด, ทำให้หมดไป

scrap: to get rid of; to stop using or accepting - เลิก, ทิ้ง

security: protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage - ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย

security agency: the army or the police or some other similar organization - ทหาร,ตำรวจ

Senate: one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand - วุฒิสภา

senate speaker: the Senate president; the person who is in charge of political debates in the Senate - ประธานวุฒิสภา

sensitive: needed to be dealt with very carefully to not cause anger or offence - ที่ละเอียดอ่อน

site: a place where something is located - สถานที่

statement: something that you say or write that gives information or an opinion - แถลงการณ์, คำแถลง

stir up: to make someone feel upset or angry - ก่อให้เกิดความขุ่นใจ

stress: to emphasise something; to say that something is important - เน้นย้ำ

submit: to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it - ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา

suggestion: an idea or a plan that you mention for somebody else to think about - ข้อเสนอ, ข้อเสนอแนะ

surveillance footage: video from a camera that is put in a place to constantly record what happens there - เทปวิดีโอจากกล้องวงจรปิดเพื่อรักษาการความปลอดภัย

suspect: a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย

ultimatum: a statement that orders someone to do something and threatens to punish or attack them if they do not - คำขาด

unity: a situation in which people, groups, or countries join together or agree about something - ความเป็นเอกภาพ, ความเป็นอันหนึ่งอันเดียวกัน

unruly: difficult to control - ยากที่จะควบคุมได้

Upper House: The Senate in a system with two lawmaking bodies – a bicameral legislature, the other being the House of Representatives - วุฒิสภา

whip: an official in a political party whose job is to make certain that other members go where they are needed and that they vote in the correct way - วิป

withdrawal: the act of no longer being involved in something - การถอนตัว,

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