More than 1,000 people from anti-government groups will rally today to map out a strategy to block the contentious amnesty bill after it received the blessing of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Suriyasai Katasila, coordinator of the Green Politics group, said the day-long meeting at Thammasat University's Tha Prachan campus will focus on an assessment of the political situation and strategies for a nationwide campaign against the bill.
Thaksin has recently voiced support for the bill, intensifying speculation that the Pheu Thai Party will not back down.
The bill, which has passed its first reading in the House, was amended by a vetting committee to give a reprieve to all involved in political offences since the 2006 coup, including protest leaders, soldiers, authorities and Thaksin.
Critics are concerned that the bill might pave the way for the return of the ex-prime minister and the restoration of his 46 billion baht in seized assets.
The second and third readings of the bill are expected to take place next month.
Mr Suriyasai said civil networks in the provinces are prepared to join the campaign against the bill.
However, local authorities are reported to have been instructed to deter or block demonstrations and to launch a campaign to inform the public on how all would benefit from the bill.
According to Mr Suriyasai, the amnesty bill was uniting the largest number of critics ever of the Thaksin regime.
The Green Politics group coordinator said the blanket amnesty is not a button to reset the country, as Thaksin and the government might suggest.
Instead it is a zero-sum game in which Thaksin will benefit, he said.
Democrat list-MP Ongart Klampaiboon said yesterday the government appeared to be racing to forward the bill for the second and third readings.
He noted that if the committee vetting the amnesty bill continued to rush deliberation of the bill, it might be put on the House agenda on Oct 30.
The Democrat MP called on government MPs to use better judgement.
Pheu Thai MP Paichit Sriworakhan said government whips will meet tomorrow to discuss the coalition's stand on how to vote for the amended version. He said government MPs are unlikely to be allowed a free vote.
At the anti-government camp at Uruphong intersection, protesters said someone threw ma mui (itchy plants) into a tent where they were sleeping yesterday morning. The plants were tossed from the expressway overlooking the rally site.
Uthai Yodmanee, a protest leader, said more than 50 protesters were affected by the plants and several were sent for treatment at Ramathibodi Hospital.
He said the protesters will petition Phaya Thai police about the attack today.