Bandwagon rolls, Phue Thai retreats

Bandwagon rolls, Phue Thai retreats

(Breaking) The Phue Thai party has just announced that if the Senate rejects the amnesty bill, it will not resubmit it to parliament after six month and it is withdrawing all other amnesty-related bills from consideration.

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Students and staff of Chulalongkorn yesterday added more than 10,000 people to the bandwagon in opposition to the blanket amnesty bill. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

Breaking news

17:52  The Phue Thai party has just announced officially that it will accept the decision of the Senate on the amnesty bill passed by parliament. Furthermore, if the Senate rejects the bill, the Phue Thai party will not resubmit it in 6 months time. In addition, it will also withdraw other amnesty-related, reconciliation-related legislation currently before parliament.

The instant reaction from Democrat Wittaya Paradai was negative, however. He said that from experience, the Phue Thai party was simply playing a waiting game. What should be done, he said, is for the Senate to accept the bill, and then it should be immediately amended so that the amnesty covers only protestors who defied laws such as the emergency decree. It should not cover criminal acts, acts of corruption and it should not cover the lengthy time period it now does, he said. All this could be done in a single day, he said.

Earlier Updates

People tend to climb on popular bandwagons very quickly and that is the case today. Here are some of the latest developments.(To find out more about what a bandwagon is, see the story below.)

16:00 Yet another group of students and teachers march, this time near the Asoke intersection. PATIPAT JANTHONG

Filled again. Silom road during the noon hour. WEERAWONG WONGPREDEE

As of 14:45 this online petition against the amnesty bill had reached 579,000 names. The goal is at least one million.

14:45 Another group of 500 hospital employees has jumped on the bandwagon, this time from Maharat Nakhon hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima despite warnings from the health minister. PRASIT TANGPRASERT

Amnesty bill opposition: the bandwagon lengthens

"Bandwagon" originally referred to the large vehicle carrying a circus band around an area to create excitement and promote ticket sales.

The concept of the "bandwagon" is often used in English to describe an activity, trend, or fad that is rapidly growing in popularity or influence.

Bandwagon certainly seems an appropriate description for the push here in Thailand to reject the blanket amnesty bill recently passed by the House of Representatives. Thousands more people are jumping/climbing on the bandwagon every day.

The Democrat party has been in the lead since the beginning, first through its failed effort to defeat the bill in parliament, and then through its mass rally near the Samsen railway station which has since moved to Democracy Monument in the Ratchadamneon Avenue area.

Democrat leaders last night vowed to continue, even escalate, their protest despite signs the prime minister was backing away from trying to push the bill through the Senate. The government will let the Senate decide freely, she said.

The Democrats have taken over the Democracy Monument area for their protest. KITJA APICHONROJAREK

A second, long-running protest site is near the Uruphong intersection. The leaders, many associated with the PAD group which led the mass protests in 2006, has a broader aim than simply killing the amnesty bill. It wants to oust the current government and to rid the country of the influence of Thaksin Shinawatra. Yesterday, a group of 500 members from Dhamma army moved from Uruphong to Phan Fa to set up yet another protest site.

Protesters at the Uruphong site have been calling for the ouster of the government. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

What makes this bandwagon different from previous protests, however, is that it extends far beyond political parties and protest groups.

Students and staff from major universities throughout the country, for example, have staged rallies of their own.  On Monday, rectors of 14 universities issued a statement opposing the amnesty bill, saying it would cause the people to believe that corruption is not a serious matter because those who commit it would eventually be absolved of wrongdoing by an amnesty.

Chula staff and students gather at the university before beginning their march. SEKSAN ROJAMETHAKUL

Yesterday, more than 10,000 students and staff of Chulalongkorn University staged the most impressive university rally yet, marching to the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre and snarling traffic in the Siam Square area.

At the Centre, CU president Pirom Kamolratanakul said the passage of the bill by the House was hasty and irregular.

"The bill will benefit the corrupt," he said. "Education institutions have a responsibility to teach students to be ethical people."

Medical students and staff of Ratchaburi Hospital hold a rally against the amnesty bill. SUNANT OCHAKACHORN

Hospital staff and medical students have also staged rallies in many areas of the country. Yesterday it was the turn of Ratchaburi hospital where about 100 students and staff demonstrated their opposition to the bill.

Heavyweight opposition is growing as well. Yesterday, 63 judges condemned the government's blanket amnesty bill, saying it will destroy the rule of law and set the wrong precedent for society.

NAAC commissioners voice their concern that the blanket amnesty could affect thousands of their cases. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Civic groups opposing corruption have issued statements on several occasions. Yesterday, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) voiced strong opposition to the bill. NAAC commissioner Vicha Mahakhun said his agency is concerned that thousands of corruption cases it handled would be affected if the bill is enacted.

About 200 staff of the Commerce Ministry gather near the offices to protest the amnesty bill. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

In one particularly embarrassing incident for the government, about 200 Commerce Ministry staff rallied against the amnesty bill near their office in Sanambin Nam yesterday.

The protests are by no means finished. Today, during the noon hour, thousands of whistle-blowing protesters are scheduled to gather in Silom for what is sure to be a colourful rally.

Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich, accompanied by a group of elected senators, said at a press conference that the amnesty bill will not pass the Upper House. POST TODAY photo.

The bandwagon seems to have had an effect. Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich, accompanied by a group of elected senators, said at a press conference yesterday afternoon that the Senate would not pass the bill, which would then have to return to the House of Representatives.

The Lower House is legally required to wait 180 days until it can adopt the bill for confirmation. Few expect the House MPs will push for its final passage.

Adapted from stories in the Bangkok Post

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  • absolve: to state formally that somebody is not guilty or responsible for something - ปลดเปลื้อง, อภัยโทษ
  • adopt: to accept or to start using something new - นำมาใช้
  • aim: purpose; goal - เป้าหมาย จุดมุ่งหมาย
  • amend: to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย
  • amnesty (noun): a situation in which a government agrees not to punish, or to no longer punish, people who have committed a particular crime - การนิรโทษกรรม
  • appropriate: suitable or right for a particular situation or purpose - ที่เหมาะสม
  • associated with: connected with in some way - ที่เชื่อมโยงกัน
  • bandwagon (noun): an activity that more and more people are becoming involved in - กิจกรรมที่มีคนจำนวนมากเข้าร่วม
  • benefit: to give an advantage to someone - มีประโยชน์ต่อ
  • 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
  • broad: wide - กว้างขวาง
  • by no means (adjective): not at all; is not true - มิใช่ใดๆเลย
  • commissioner (noun): a member of a commission; a group of people who have been formally chosen to discover information about a problem or examine the reasons why the problem exists - กรรมาธิการ ผู้ได้รับมอบหมายอำนาจหน้าที่
  • commit: to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด
  • concept: an idea of something that exists; an idea for something new - ความคิด, กรอบความคิด
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • condemn: to criticise something or someone strongly - ประนาม
  • confirmation: a statement, letter, etc. that shows that something is true, correct or definite - การยืนยัน
  • corrupt (adj.): (people) willing to use their power to do dishonest or illegal things in return for money or to get an advantage - (ผู้)ทุจริต, (ผู้)โกง
  • current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
  • defy: to refuse to obey or accept someone or something - ฝ่าฝืน,ไม่เชื่อฟัง, เป็นปฏิปักษ์ต่อ
  • demonstrate: to show something clearly by giving proof or evidence - พิสูจน์, แสดงให้เห็นจริ
  • embarrassing: making you feel ashamed, nervous or stupid - น่าอับอาย, น่าอับอายขายหน้า
  • emergency decree (noun): a situation where the government takes on special powers in a dangerous situation and the rights of the people are often limited in some way - ประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน  
  • enact: to pass into law - ออกกฎหมาย
  • escalate (verb): to make something increase in amount or strength; to make larger; to scale up; to ramp up - ยกระดับ; เสริม
  • ethical: involving the principles used for deciding what is right and what is wrong - ตามหลักจรรยา
  • eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด
  • extend: to include something more - ยืดออกไป ขยายออกไป
  • fad: something that is popular or fashionable only for a short time - กระแสนิยม แฟชั่นสมัยนิยม
  • furthermore: in addition; more importantly - นอกจากนี้, ยิ่งกว่านี้, มากไปกว่านี้
  • hasty (adj.): said, made or done very quickly, especially when this has bad results - รีบเร่ง, เร่งด่วน
  • heavyweight (noun): someone or something that has a lot of influence, status, or knowledge - คนหรือสิ่งที่มีอิทธิพลมาก, หนักเป็นพิเศษ
  • House of Representatives: the main lawmaking body in Thailand - สภาผู้แทนราษฎร
  • impressive: something that people admire because it is very good, very large or shows great skill - ซึ่งน่าประทับใจ
  • incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์
  • influence: the power to have an effect on people or things - อิทธิพล
  • instant: immediate - ทันที
  • intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก
  • irregular: not according to what is expected - ผิดปกติ
  • issue: to announce something officially - ออกประกาศ
  • judge: someone whose job is to make decisions in a court of law - ตุลาการ, ผู้พิพากษา
  • legally: relating to the law - ตามกฎหมาย
  • legislation: a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament - กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
  • mass rally: a very large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุมใหญ่
  • monument (noun): a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
  • National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC): An independent government organisation to investigate corruption carried out by government officials - ปปช. (สำนักคณะกรรมการป้องกันและปราบปรามการทุจริตแห่งชาติ)
  • negative: bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ
  • occasion: a time at which something happens - ครั้ง, โอกาส
  • opposition: strong disagreement with a plan or policy - ความขัดแย้ง
  • oust: to force to leave a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ
  • particularly: especially, or more than usual - โดยเฉพาะ
  • People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD): the union of several groups protesting against the Samak, Somchai and Abhisit and now Yingluck governments and which staged large protests against the Thaksin government as well - พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย  
  • popularity: a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
  • precedent: an action, situation or decision which has already happened and which can be used as a reason why a similar action or decision should be performed or taken - มาตรฐานในการตัดสิน, ตัวอย่างหรือแบบอย่างที่มีมาก่อน
  • 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
  • protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง
  • rapidly: happening quickly - อย่างรวดเร็ว
  • reaction: the way something responds as a result of something that happens - ปฏิกิริยา การตอบสนอง, ปฏิกิริยาตอบโต้
  • reconciliation: a new and friendly relationship with someone who you argued with or fought with - การทำให้ปรองดองกันอีก, การสมานฉันท์
  • rector: the person in charge in some universities, schools, colleges and universities - อธิการบดี
  • reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
  • responsibility: a duty; a duty to deal with or take care of somebody/something, so that you may be blamed if something goes wrong - ความรับผิดชอบ
  • resubmit: to submit again - ยื่นใหม่
  • rid: to cause to be free of somebody/something that has been annoying you or that you do not want - ขจัด, กำจัด, ทำให้หมดไป
  • schedule: to arrange for something to happen at a particular time - ทำตารางเวลา, ทำกำหนดการ, กำหนดรายการ
  • Senate: one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand - วุฒิสภา
  • site: a place where something is located - สถานที่
  • snarl (verb): to become caught or twisted; to make something do this; to involve somebody/something in a situation that stops their movement or progress; to become involved in a situation like this - ทำให้ติดขัด
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • stage: to organise an event or activity - จัด
  • trend: a gradual change or development that produces a particular result   - ทิศทาง แนวโน้ม
  • voice: to express your feelings or opinions - ออกความคิด
  • vow: to make a formal and serious promise to do something or to promise what you say is true - สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
  • warning: an action or statement telling someone of a possible problem or danger - การเตือน
  • whistle: a small metal or plastic tube that you blow to make a loud high sound, used to attract attention or as a signal - นกหวีด
  • withdraw: to take away - ถอน

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