Thai PM warns monks they face arrest if staging a protest

ThaiPBS, July 13, 2016

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha on Tuesday hit back at a senior monk who threatened to lead a mass protest of monks if the former does not submit the nomination of Somdet Chuang as the new supreme patriarch to His Majesty the King for endorsement within seven days.

Apparently disturbed by a question of a reporter about the threat made by Phra Methithammajarn, secretary-general of Buddhism Protection Centre of Thailand, the prime minister snubbed saying: “Are there law? What does the NCPO order say? Can more than five people assembly? If (they) want to protest, so be it. If they cannot be arrested today, then make the arrest the following day – whoever they are.”

The prime minister said that he should have been the one who issued the threat, not a monk.

Phra Methithammajarn issued the threat after the Council of State ruled that the Sangha Supreme Council’s nomination of Somdet Chuang, abbot of Wat Paknam Phasicharoen, as the supreme patriarch, was not illegal.

The prime minister also brushed aside a move by former member of the National Reform Council Paiboon Nititawan to protest against Somdet Chuang’s nomination, asking what else he should do, noting that the matter regarding the scandal implicating Somdet Chuang is under investigation.