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Protester hangs self near Dhammakaya Temple

Feb 25. 2017
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By The Nation

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A middle-aged man hanged himself from a 100-metre-high radio antenna on Saturday night in an apparent protest against the ongoing siege of the controversial Dhammakaya Temple.

The man, wearing black, started climbing the structure at a community radio station located behind the vast temple complex in Pathum Thani at about 6 pm. He also displayed a placard with a message giving authorities a 9 pm deadline for a junta order against Dhammakaya to be revoked.

“Please revoke the Article 44 order before 9 pm or you can collect my body,” his message read.

The man’s identity was unavailable and it remained unclear if he had any connection with the temple.

The order was issued by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order under the power given to him by Article 44 of the post-coup interim charter.

Authorities have explained that the order was needed to facilitate searches of the temple compound for its former abbot Phra Dhammachayo, who is wanted for money laundering and accepting stolen assets in connection with embezzled funds from a credit union.

After being persuaded by police, the man climbed down the antenna at about 9 pm, according to police and witnesses. As he was about half-mast, he put a rope noose around his neck and jumped off. 

He was pronounced dead after being taken down from the antenna.

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