Buddhist "Dharma Army" Demands PM Thaksin�s Resignation

March 7, 2006

Source: The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

Wire Service: AP


On March 7, 2006 the Associated Press reported, "In the morning, they pray and collect alms. At night, they march and shout for Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to resign.

Clearly these aren't your ordinary tranquil Thai Buddhists.

In fact, they are members of the Santi Asoke Buddhist sect, and have dubbed themselves the 'Dharma Army,' in reference to the teachings of the Buddha that promote virtue. It's a jarring name to people who associate Buddhism with pacifism.

'It is our duty to Lord Buddha to oust the greedy and sinful Thaksin,' says their charismatic and outspoken leader, Phra Bodhirak.

The group's members have joined the growing demonstrations to force Thaksin � whom they accuse of corruption and abuse of power � to step down.

A senior member of the sect, former Bangkok Gov. Chamlong Srimuang, is one of the leaders of what have become nearly daily anti-Thaksin protests. He last played such a role in 1992, when pro-democracy demonstrators forced out a military-backed government."