Thai 'red shirts' rally in Bangkok ahead of key amnesty debate
BANGKOK (AFP) - Thousands of Thai pro-government "red shirts" massed in Bangkok on Sunday in their first show of force since a wave of opposition protests against a controversial political amnesty Bill.
Television footage showed a sea of people decked out in red, many bussed in from the country's hardscrabble north-east, at a noisy rally in a suburban park, with organisers saying they expected to draw tens of thousands of people by its peak late on Sunday.
They gathered following several days of protests by various opposition groups against a deeply divisive amnesty Bill backed by Yingluck Shinawatra's government, which has inflamed festering political wounds.
Thailand's Senate was due on Monday to debate the Bill, which critics say has been crafted to pave the way for a return of the polarising former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is Ms Yingluck's brother.