DSI targets Democracy Monument rally leaders

Suthep Thaugsuban and eight other former Democrat Party MPs are being targetted by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for possible serious charges, including inciting civil disobedience and treason, arising from the rally against the amnesty bill.

Suthep Thaugsuban, left, shows his resignation letter submitted to parliament on Tuesday, saying he will devote all his energy to leading a campaign against the amnesty bill. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

The DSI is looking into bringing charges against them after Pheu Thai Party deputy spokesman Prompong  Nopparit lodged a complaint with the law enforcement agency on Tuesday.

The move followed the formal resignation of the nine Democrat MPs from the House of Representatives, rescinding their immunity from arrest when parliament is in session, to concentrate full time on the anti-government protest.

Mr Prompong demanded legal action against the nine, accusing them of public incitement to provoke instability, and treason.

The Pheu Thai MP cited former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban's call for nationwide strikes, for people to stop paying taxes, and for other civil obedience activities, as grounds to back up his complaints.

He urged the DSI to look into the financial lifeline of the Democrat-led campaign against the amnesty bill.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said the complaint would be examined to determine whether it could be accepted as a special case. Pol Lt Col Yutthaya Phraedum, a specialist, had been given this assignment, he added.

If Mr Prompong's complaint is beyond the DSI's authority at this point, the agency has another option -  tabling it at a meeting on Nov 27 and seek approval from the special committee to move it into the special case category, Mr Tarit said.

Protesters had ignored the DSI's warning to end their rallies after their changed from  killing the amnesty bill to ousting the government.

The nine Democrat members formally resigned as MPs on Tuesday, to ensure the opposition party is not directly involved in the demonstration at the Democracy Monument.

The nine are: Mr Suthep, Thaworn Senneam of Songkhla, Sathit Wongnongtoey of Trang, Witthaya Kaewparadai of Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chumpol Julasai of Chumphon, Putthipong Punnakant of Bangkok, Ekanat Prompan of Bangkok, Nathapol Teepsuwan of Bangkok and Issara Somchai, a party list MP.

They lined up together and old the crowd on Ratchadamnoen Avenue on Monday night that their resignation wopuld enable them to lead the rally in a full steam charge to press for the death of the blanket amnesty bill.

Activities to be carried out would be mapped out on a daily basis, Mr Suthep said from the stage.

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Mr Suthep said on Tuesday, after formally resigning, they would fight within the law and were ready to defend themselves within the justice system if legal action were taken against them.

He said his call for a work stoppage from Wednesday to Friday was only an initial step in the campaign. Other steps would follow to demonstrate the people's disapproval of the government.

Mr Suthep asked the government not to use force against people who stage a peaceful protest.

He said his activities from now would have nothing to do with the Democrats and the remaining Democrat MPs could decide for themselves whether to go up on the stage to speak against the government.

"The Democrat Party is no longer involved in the Ratchadamnoen rally. Whether its MPs take the stage or not is up to them," he told reporters at parliament.

The bill was rejected by the Senate in its first reading on Monday night and returned to the House, where the government can take it up again after 180 days.

The National Security Council (NSC) chief said Tuesday thar in the wake of the Senate's decision he expected fewer people would attend the rallies at the Democracy Monument and at Makkawan Rangsan Bridge on nearby Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue led by the Anti-Thaksin coalition and the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand.

The demand of the demonstrators had been fulfilled after the Senate vote and the demonstrations should be scaled down, NSC secretary-general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut said.

The resignation of former Surat Thani MP Suthep, and the other eight Democrats, was a tactic to keep the rally at Democracy Monument going and draw people out iinto the streets, he added.

Related search: amnesty bill, rally, democracy monument, Suthep Thaugsuban, DSI, Pheu Thai, Democrat Party

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Writer: King-oua Laohong and Patsara Jikkham