Police to summon leader of monk rally over Public Assembly Act

The police have said that they will summon a key leader of a rally of monks for allegedly breaking the Public Assembly Act, while Buddha Issara, a well-known ultra-royalist monk, is pressing criminal defamation charges against him.

According to Matichon Online, Pol Lt Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen, Acting Deputy Spokesperson of the Royal Thai Police, on Wednesday, 17 February 2016, told the media that the police will issue a summons for Methi Thammacharn, a Buddhist monk who on Monday led hundreds of monks to Phutthamonthon Park in Nakhon Pathom Province to demand that the current acting Supreme Patriarch, Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn, be named to the post permanently.

The nomination of Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn to the top post of Thai Buddhism, however, has been strongly contested by Buddha Issara, a monk affiliated with the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). Somdet Phra Maha Ratchamangalacharn is affiliated with the controversial Dhammakaya Temple.     

The police said that the monk leading the rally will be summoned to report to Phutthamonthon Police Station for allegedly breaking the Public Assembly Act.

Yesterday, Buddha Issara filed a complaint against Methi Thammacharn at Phutthamonthon Police Station.

The ultra-royalist monk, known before the 2014 coup d’état for anti-election street protests, himself accused Methi Thammacharn of offences under the Public Assembly Act, the Criminal Defamation Law, and the Loudspeaker Control Act.

In addition to being criticised for his affiliation with Dhammakaya Temple, the acting Supreme Patriarch is currently under investigation for the allegedly illegal possession of a vintage Mercedes-Benz.

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