By The Nation
As the huge search operation at the temple entered its eighth day yesterday, police were still unable to find former abbot Phra Dhammachayo, despite an enormous police presence, numerous negotiations, a threat to cut power and water and the authority’s strict screening of visitors in and out of the compound.
At around 6am, 50 troops demolished a barrier that had been set up to block a gate near the Boon Raksa building, where they believed the fugitive monk was hiding. But the move to enter the compound only led to a confrontation and tussle between troops and some 500 disciples and monks.
The troops eventually withdrawn after failed negotiations, while temple monks and disciples tried to set up tin sheets and concrete pipes as a line of defence.
Phra Sanitwong, who inspected the scene after the scuffle, said that if the junta order was revoked, the temple would be willing to allow officers and media members to search the compound.
Insisting executive monk Phra Thattacheevo did not resist the officers’ search, Phra Sanitwong said the disciples were also planning to petition to the UN about the Article 44 order, alleging the use of violence resulting to disciples’ injuries and a lost diamond earring in the Monday tussle at Gate 5.