Distressed Monk Ascends Tower to Save Monastery (Video)

BANGKOK — Police on Friday were still trying to convince a monk to descend from a cell tower where he had remained perched more than 24 hours.

Phra Theerathanatnaruttha, abbot of Buddha Jayanthi monastery in Bangkok’s Thawi Watthana district has stayed on the tower 20 meters above the ground since Thursday morning and still refused to come down as of 9am on Friday, claiming a bank is trying to evict the monastery and has rejected several sponsors’ bids to buy it.

“I’d like to rest and pray from up here,” Theerathanatnaruttha wrote in a note thrown down to police officers. “If the bank has some mercy and gives us an opportunity to find a sponsor to buy the land, we’d be very grateful.”

He claimed he will stay on the tower until May 29, marking the Buddhist holiday of Visakha Bucha.

Local residents told police that the monastery claimed the land, which was abandoned and seized by the bank over 10 years ago, and the bank has been trying to convince the monks to leave.

The head of Thammasala police said they would try their best to talk him down today.