Glimpse of Hope – Thailand’s Anti-Amnesty Bill Movement brings Rare Unity
November 13th, 2013 | Photographs & Text by Chotiwat Lattapanit
Thailand’s Anti-Amnesty Bill movement depict a glimpse of hope that Thai people can actually come to common consensuses politically.
Massive amounts of people came out to the streets from all over the country to protest against the passing of the Thailand Amnesty Bill because it would allow human rights abuses – such as the killing of civilian protesters – to go unpunished. From an outside point of view, this coming together of citizens may seem normal, but after almost a decade of severe political divisions in Thai society, it was very special to see such unity. For a rare brief moment, there were no arguments of who was right or wrong, no division of colors, no segregation of social groups, and no political talks for the sake of politics. Due to pressure from this movement, the House of Senate decided to reject this controversial bill, heralding a victory to all Thais.
Facts about Thailand Amnesty Bill
The Bill, proposed by the governing Pheu Thai party, applied to all offenses committed during the political turmoil after the Military Coup d’état in 2006 which drove Thaksin into exile. The government had argued that the legislation was a necessary step towards reconciliation, after several years of political turbulences, which included the closing of Bangkok’s main airport in 2008, and then two months of street protests in Bangkok in 2010 that left about 90 people – mostly civilian protesters – dead. Moreover, the bill also had a hidden agenda – to allow Mr Thaksin to return to Thailand without having to serve a jail sentence.
Photographs & Text by Chotiwat Lattapanit