Buddhist Rally Alarms Surayud

April 24, 2007

Source: Bangkok Post


Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont yesterday suggested that there could be an ulterior motive behind a mass rally to press for Buddhism to be recognised as the state religion in the new constitution. He said things could not be taken at face value when asked to comment on an observation that the demonstration had a hidden agenda.

The prime minister said the issue should be resolved through dialogue, adding that what appears on the outside is usually tied to backstage manoeuvring.

The rally outside parliament, which drew around 20,000 monks and lay people, raised tension and concerns about a violent confrontation. The rally will continue today when the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is to present the first draft of the new charter to the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) for recommendations.

Gen Surayud urged the Buddhist activists to campaign under the rule of law.