BANGKOK, Thailand -- Thousands of Buddhist monks demonstrated outside Parliament on Thursday to demand that Thailand's new constitution enshrine Buddhism as the official national religion.
The Constitution Drafting Committee, appointed by coup leaders in January, formally submitted their first draft Thursday to 12 public agencies, including the Cabinet, the interim Parliament and the Council for National Security - the government advisory board comprised of leaders of the Sept. 19 coup.
More than 3,000 Buddhist monks and other Buddhists staged a sit-in protest in front of Parliament to pressure the drafters to include a clause recognizing Buddhism as the national religion. They pledged to continue their protest until their demands are met.
Many of the monks took part Wednesday in an eight-hour march from the central province of Nakhon Pathom to Bangkok. Protesters rode nine elephants in the march.
They said that Buddhism - followed by more than 90 percent of Thailand's 64 million people - has been under threat and the recognition will guarantee it will continue to be the main religion in the country............
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