Tida lauds bill opposition by red shirts as sign of 'maturity'

Tida lauds bill opposition by red shirts as sign of 'maturity'

Red-shirt opposition to the amnesty bill is seen as a positive step by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), its leader Tida Tawornseth said yesterday.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship chairwoman Tida Tawornseth listens to Sombat Boonngam-anong, a core leader of the Red Sunday group, during her talk near Ratchaprasong intersection, the former rally site of the red shirts. APICHIT JINAKUL

Ms Tida said she was "glad" to see red-shirt members' reluctance to support the bill and viewed it as an illustration of their maturity in politics.

The bill, pushed by Pheu Thai, has stirred anger from red-shirt members including those in the governing party.

Some Pheu Thai MPs on the UDD camp decided not to vote for it when the bill was in parliament in the second and third readings on Thursday and Friday morning.

The bill was revised to give blanket amnesty to protest leaders, soldiers and authorities involved in political unrest between 2004 and Aug 8 this year.

The red shirts favoured the original edition passing the first reading, which gave an amnesty to only protesters and the public taking part in the rallies.

Their opposition of the bill showed the political views of the red-shirt members were maturing and they have begun to move away from "clinging to individuals" to righteousness and public interests, Ms Tida said.

Though many UDD members wanted to see deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, currently in self-exile abroad, come back home, they do not want to see his return at the cost of an amnesty for authorities who killed people, she said.

UDD demonstrators involved in bloody clashes with soldiers during their rally against the then Abhisit Vejjajiva government in 2010 have demanded justice for the dead.

The UDD is the closest ally of Pheu Thai politicians who want to help Thaksin after his administration was toppled by the coup in 2006 and his multi-billion baht assets were inspected by the coup-engineered Assets Scrutiny Committee.

Thaksin later fled the country and managed to escape a two-year jail term handed down in 2008 by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions which found him guilty of power abuse in the Ratchadaphisek land deal.

"You cannot use dirty tricks against a friend who once joined you to fight," she said, adding the bill stood to benefit politicians and authorities more than it will ordinary people.

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