The bold attempt by the ruling Pheu Thai Party to pass a blanket amnesty bill has greatly upset anti-establishment red shirts. Many red shirts have become uncertain of who to vote for in the next general election. As the amnesty issue has made it clearer that Pheu Thai may not always comply with the will of the red shirts, the idea of establishing an alternative party has been raised and widely discussed. Prachatai talked to a red-shirt supporter, a new alternative party leader and academics to find out about this possibility.
Thousands of red shirts led by Sombat Boongamanong gathered at Ratchaprasong intersection on Sunday to voice out against the blanket amnesty draft bill.
A few thousand anti-establishment red-shirt supporters gathered at Ratchaprasong intersection, a commercial district of Bangkok, to protest against the controversial blanket amnesty draft bill and show support for the ruling Pheu Thai government.
Prachatai talks to various red shirt factions -- progressive activists, former political prisoners as well as prisoners currently jailed as a result of the 2010 political conflict -- about their opinions on the blanket amnesty bill, which is scheduled to be considered by the Senate next week.
Nikorn Srikamma, 29, was arrested in July last year for his participation in the red shirt rallies on 19 May in Chiang Mai, and jailed for nearly 5 months, before being released as his sentence was suspended by the court. On 7 May this year, he received a summons from the court attached to a copy of an appeal by the public prosecutor who considered that his sentence was too low.
Late one night at the end of last month – an April night in which the scent of blood from the impending crackdown threatened to fill the air – a woman in her seventies made her way awkwardly through the crowd of demonstrators. She sat down among them before pulling out a bag containing a slingshot and glass marbles, which she had kept hidden underneath her top, to the delight of her aged friends sitting nearby.