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Monks prohibited from participating in political protests

Caitlin Ashworth




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.”



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  1. Avatar

    John Smith

    Wednesday, 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


    Wednesday, 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

    Thursday, 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


    Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Fake monks as fake Catholic priests.

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, 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

    Thursday, 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.

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