Demonstrators demand Buddhism be made Thai national religion

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thailand's draft constitution has come under fire from Buddhist monks and supporters for not having a clause declaring a national religion for the country. The coup-appointed Prime Minister, Surayud Chulanont, noted that the issue could cause problems with the upcoming referendum to ratify the proposed constitution.

According to the Bangkok Post 20,000 protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Bangkok, and a procession of nine elephants joined the protest with Senator Sawet Thinnakul riding one of them.

It would appear that the government has carefully worded the draft constitution to avoid favouring one religion over another. Tensions and violence in the predominantly Malay Muslim south of the country have led to over 2,000 deaths; having a clause that recognised Buddhism as the country's official religion may further inflame tensions in the region.

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