Protesting Buddhist monks to stop rally

TNA, Aug 13, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand -- Members of a Buddhist organisation who had planned to hold another round of a rally here if the proposed constitution which does not officially recognise Buddhism as Thailand's religion sails through next week's referendum have agreed to suspend their activities after Her Majesty the Queen suggested that religion should not be mixed with politics.

Gen. Thongchai Kua-sakul, chairman of the Buddhist Organisation of Thailand, said the group would not make any movement if the draft constitution was approved in the national referendum due to be held next Sunday.

He said the decision was made following Saturday's address by Her Majesty the Queen for her 75th birthday - August 12 - in which she said that everyone did not want Buddhism to be mixed with politics, but that it should be held in high esteem as a guiding light for all Thais.

She said Buddhism was a religion that had belonged to Thais since the Sukhothai period.

Buddhist monks and lay people ended their protest June 29 outside Parliament after staging a rally and hunger strike there for several weeks, demanding that those who wrote the new constitution officially recognise Buddhism as Thailand's religion in the charter.

Buddhism is the faith of 95 per cent of Thailand's 65-million population. Despite the fact that Buddhism is the faith of majority, both the king and the government uphold and support all the religions in the kingdom.