Thai monks march for Buddhism with elephants

The Thailand Monks are rallying to have the country instituted as officially a Buddhist country. I personally think that's fine because things like these add character to a country I feel. I think India should follow suit and let the birthplace of Hinduism be a Hindu state.

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Hundreds of Buddhist monks led by at least nine elephants marched to parliament in the Thai capital to demand that the country's new post-coup constitution enshrine Buddhism as the national religion.

"Buddhism is increasingly coming under threat," Thongchai Kuasakul, head of the Buddhists' Network of Thailand who led the march, said in a statement Wednesday.

Buddhism could be undermined and gradually phased out from Thailand, he said in the statement, citing violent incidents in the Muslim insurgency-wracked south where monks have been killed, temples bombed and fearful Buddhists have abandoned their homes.

More than 2,000 people have been killed in the south since the insurgency flared in 2004. More than 90 percent of Thailand's 64 million people are Buddhists, and Muslims -- who form the majority in the deep south -- have long complained of discrimination.

Nine elephants led hundreds of Buddhists in an eight-hour march Wednesday under a scorching sun from Bhuddhamonthon-- a major Buddhist center in the central province of Nakhon Pathom -- to the parliament building in the capital, Bangkok.

They reached parliament by dusk. Most sat peacefully in front of the building, chanting Buddhist prayers. They were expected to remain there overnight.

Elephants, considered sacred by many Buddhists, are often used in Thai religious ceremonies.

Police failed to persuade the monks, who were joined by hundreds of supporters, to leave the elephants at the city limits as they marched into the capital, leading to brief scuffles.

Read full news here

Posted in: | | |