Thailand’s Senate meets amid tight security
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Thailand’s Senate meets amid tight security

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s Senate convened a highly charged session to determine the fate of an amnesty bill that could pave the way for the return of self-exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

Nearly 7,000 police officers were deployed Monday around the Parliament and the prime minister’s office where thousands of protesters continued to rally against the bill.

Since it was passed by the lower house Nov. 1, the bill has set off daily demonstrations and raised fears of reviving political turmoil that has convulsed the country since Thaksin was toppled by a coup in 2006.

Critics say the ruling-party’s proposed legislation is intended to whitewash Thaksin’s alleged crimes and allow him to return to Thailand without going to jail. Thaksin fled into exile to avoid serving a two-year prison term for corruption.