Thai priest urges peaceful path to reform

(UCA News) A Catholic priest has urged anti-government protesters in Bangkok to seek justice and reform through peaceful means following a night of sporadic violence in the Thai capital.

Addressing several thousand protesters in central Bangkok on Wednesday, Jesuit Father Vichai Phoktavi prayed for peace and justice in Thailand.

“I think that politics and our government in Thailand should be reformed, we need to reduce corruption and there should be more participation from the people,” he told

Father Vichai said he was approached by protest organizers on Tuesday to help lead an interreligious prayer service to kick off the third consecutive day of citywide protests, dubbed “Shutdown Bangkok” by organizers. He followed on stage a Muslim imam who offered a similar prayer for peace and justice, Father Vichai said.

The religious leaders’ pleas for peace came after pockets of violence were reported across the city on Tuesday night. Two people were shot, an explosive device was thrown at the home of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the main opposition party leader, a bus used by protesters was set on fire and police were attacked in several separate incidents, authorities said.

The shootings occurred near the city’s Pathum Wan intersection, not far from where Wednesday’s prayer session took place.

Father Vichai, former director of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, said he reminded the crowd in a city still scarred from the deadly 2010 riots that the use of nonviolence was the best way for them to achieve their goals. [More]


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