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Monks prohibited from participating in political protests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Monks prohibited from participating in political protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS
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Monks and novices are banned from joining political protests and urgent notifications have been sent to temples advising them that monks could be expelled for participating. As the pro-democracy movement continues, some monks have already been seen at rallies calling on government and monarchy reformation as well as a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution.

The National Office of Buddhism director Narong Song-ar-rom says the Sangha Supreme Council has issued urgent letters to temples all over Thailand stating that monks and novices are barred from participating in political protests.

Some Buddhist monks have already been seen at protests, drawing public attention. At a protest at the Sukhumvit-Asoke intersection last month, a monk stood out in the crowd. He was dressed in the traditional, bright orange robes and sitting on a chair in the middle of crowd. Hundreds of people were sitting on the road, blocking the intersection.

While many people held signs pushing for democracy and monarchy reformation, the monk, a highly respected member of the Thai society, caught attention. Photos were taken of the monk holding his protest sign saying “We won’t be blinded by your PR team no more” with his other hand raised in the movement’s 3-finger salute.

According to Thai PBS, 7 months were seen at Sunday’s rally where protesters attempted to deliver letters to HM the King – a move considered unprecedented in Thai society.

If monks or novices are caught participating in a political protest, the chief monk their local administrative division will decide whether or not to punish the them or even force them to leave the monkhood.

The National Office of Buddhism will also ask police to investigate the states of monks and novices at protests to make sure people aren’t dressing as monks and “defaming Buddhism.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John Smith

    November 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm

    Maybe more not less should join the protests to keep the piece just in case the government has different ideas. Let me know if you agree.

  2. Avatar

    AI

    November 11, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Yeah, if they have a violent response set for the future with the protesters, they really wouldn’t benefit from seeing monks being beaten or rough handled would they?
    Yes, John, agreed. They need to be around to provide both sides to maintain some non-violent order. 😉

    PS – The politrick-ans want to have all of this discontent brushed aside as it is an embarrassment to them. They have tried rustling up oppo with the yellows, but they don’t see to be interested and /or in numbers. So, expect possibly more tricks planned.

  3. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 12, 2020 at 12:08 am

    Well a monk or two might in the protest crowd might deter violence on both sides.
    Catholic priests used to take part in protests during the troubles in Belfast.

  4. Avatar

    gosport

    November 12, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Fake monks as fake Catholic priests.

  5. Avatar

    F

    November 12, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Monks are being used as a political tool by the government. That should upset a lot of Thai people I guess.

  6. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    November 12, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Everyone is entitled to speak openly and express their thoughts. Where most nations join hands for freedom of expression and democracy, the Thai administration shuts down the voice of their people and monks are now involved, so the administration turned them down by saying leave the monkhood, directly violating their people’s human rights.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Bangkok

Court acquits PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing him to stay on at military residence

Caitlin Ashworth

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Court acquits PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, allowing him to stay on at military residence | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha will be staying in office and at his military residence. Bangkok’s Constitutional Court ruled today that the prime minister and former Thai general and commander of the Thai Army has not violated the charter by occupying a military-owned residence. The court says under military regulations, former officers can remain at their Army residence after their retirement at the discretion of the Thai Army commander.

Pro-democracy protesters have been pushing on Prayut to resign since July, along with calling for a rewrite of the 2017 Constitution together with reform of the government and role of the monarchy. Recently, Prayut was accused of violating the Constitution by staying at an official Army residence, rent-free, after his ‘retirement’ as General Prayut in 2014. Some say the tenancy represents a conflict of interest and the prime minister was abusing his power. A guilty ruling would’ve potentially put an end to his premiership.

Sections 184 and 186 of the Thai Constitution forbid a government minister from “receiving any special money or benefit from a government agency, state agency or state enterprise apart from that given by the government agency, state agency or state enterprise to other persons in the ordinary course of business.”

Prayut told the court that he was staying at the residence at the First Infantry Battalion of Royal Guards because his home in Baan Phitsanulok was being renovated and that his security team suggested he live at the Army residence for safety, a source told Nation Thailand.

Similar housing has been provided to former Army chiefs who are now members of the Cabinet, Privy Council and Parliament, according to the Royal Thai Army. They add that the residence was provided to Prayut because the prime minister “deserves the honour and security it provides.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon

Maya Taylor

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Court to deliver verdict on PM’s military residence this afternoon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Security is expected to be extremely tight at Bangkok’s Constitutional Court today, as the ruling in the matter of the PM’s residence is delivered. Prayut Chan-o-cha is accused of violating army rules by occupying a military residence rent-free, despite having retired from the army in 2014. Critics say his tenancy represents a conflict of interest. Should the court agree with them, it will spell the end of his premiership, something pro-democracy protesters have been calling for since July.

Thai PBS World reports that the court has issued a statement to confirm that only approved parties will be allowed in the courtroom, including the PM, the complainant, and relevant lawyers and officials. The case was brought earlier this year, following a request from the leader of the Pheu Thai opposition party, Sompong Amornwiwat. The court has confirmed the verdict will be broadcast on its You Tube channel from around 3pm, meaning the public can watch it live.

Bangkok authorities are apprehensive about potential unrest should some parties disagree with the court’s findings. Piya Tavichai from the Metropolitan Police Bureau has confirmed that hundreds of police officers will be on duty, in and around the court buildings, with the front entrance already sealed off. A planned rally by the anti-government protest group, Ratsadon, has now been switched to the Lad Phrao Intersection, in the Chatuchak district of the capital.

We’ll all know the decision around 3pm this afternoon.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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