Political Rallies Suspended After Patriarch's Death

Mourners at Chulalongkorn Hospital holding portraits of the late Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara, 25 October 2013

(25 October) The death of the Supreme Patriarch, the spiritual leader of the Thai Buddhists, has caused political groups to suspend their scheduled rallies, as the nation begins its 30 day mourning period.

After battling a prolonged illness at an elderly age for almost a decade, Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara passed away last night at Chulalongkorn Hospital. He was 100.

Official statement said that His Holiness died of blood sepsis at 19.30. Although his death was announced more than a hour later on nationwide TV broadcast, much of the social network was already made aware of the news due to Facebook posts made by close aides of the late Supreme Patriarch.

News reports say the police would "ask" organisers of entertainment events to cancel their programs in the mourning period, initially announced to be 15 days and later extended to 30.

It remains unclear whether nightlife establishments and other related venues where alcohol is served would also be "encouraged" to close down due to the Buddhist religious belief which frowns on consumption of alcohol; sale of alcohol is restricted during other Buddhist religious occasions.

Meanwhile, anti-government faction has responded to the Supreme Patriarch′s death by cancelling their activities.

The Students and People Network For Political Reform, which has been organising protests against the government at Uruphong Intersection, released a statement that the protesters will not demonstrate out of their encampments throughout the 15 days of mourning.

The statement added that the Student and People Network leadership will discuss about further political activities once the national mourning is over.

The White Masks, yet another anti-government activist group, also cancelled their upcoming protest, which was planned to take place in Bangkok this Saturday.

Similarly, the Democrat Party postponed its rally from 26 October to 2 November. The rally was slated to feature appearances of top Democrat officials berating the government′s attempts to amend the Constitution and borrow money for its 2.2 trillion infrastructure overhaul project.

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