Thailand: Alcohol-free days sought

The Bangkok Post, June 15, 2009

Bangkok, Thailand -- A network of monks has renewed calls for the government to declare the four most important days on the Buddhist calendar alcohol-free.

Monks from many provinces including Surin, Khon Kaen, Chanthaburi and Trat yesterday petitioned the National Committee for Alcohol Consumption Control, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart.

They asked the cabinet for Makha Bucha Day, Asarnha Bucha Day, Visakha Bucha Day and Buddhist Lent Day, which are public holidays, to be declared alcohol-free days.

The network claimed Maj Gen Sanan's committee favoured the alcohol-free days, but Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had not pushed for it.

Network coordinator Phra Samu Surapong Pasannajitto said the cabinet last year agreed that Buddhist Lent Day be declared an alcohol-free day. No mention was made of the other religious days.