Pathum Wanaram Temple forbids red shirts’ 100-day religious ceremony

Pathum Wanaram Temple has cancelled the booking by a group of red shirts to hold a religious ceremony to mark 100 days since the crackdown in May.  The abbot claims to have been pressured and criticized for siding with the red shirts.

The group of red shirts consists of former members of the Prachatai webboard which closed down at the end of July.  One of the organizers with the username ‘Ahingsa’ told Prachatai that his group had made a booking with the temple on 6 Aug, using a written booking form.  They had been in continuous discussion with the temple about preparations.  Then on the evening of 25 Aug, the temple called to say that it could not organize the ceremony, due to other functions.

On 26 Aug, the organizers went to the temple to ask for clarification, and the abbot appealed to those making the request, telling them that he had been under a lot of pressure and had been reviled for siding with the red shirts.

The group finally decided to move the venue to Hua Lam Phong Temple instead, on the same day, 28 Aug.

Ahingsa said that the temple was a public place and the activity was a religious ceremony, so there should not have been any problem.  He wondered whether the temple could refuse people making merit, in view of the fact that on 19 June a religious ceremony marking 30 days was held by the red shirts at the temple.

‘Lung Juk’, another organizer, said that the activity was organized by members of political online forums including Prachatai, Internet Freedom, Thai Free News, Ratchadamnoen, Pracha Tiam, etc.  He suspected that the government might have a hand in this.  Activities marking 7 and 50 days since the crackdown had been held at the temple where the tragedy took place.

He added that after they had to change the venue, they called Pathum Wanaram Temple to allow them to put up signs in front of the temple to notify the change of place, but were refused.  He was quite worried as this activity had already been publicized to take place at Pathum Wanaram for almost a month.



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