Thai­land de­clares 1-year pe­riod of mourn­ing

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

A ROYAL pro­ces­sion car­ry­ing the body of Thai­land’s late King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej trav­elled on Fri­day from the Bangkok hospi­tal he died to the Grand Palace, pass­ing tens of thou­sands of weep­ing peo­ple as the coun­try of­fi­cially en­tered a one-year pe­riod of mourn­ing.

Bhu­mi­bol, the world’s long­est-reign­ing monarch, died in hospi­tal in the cap­i­tal Bangkok on Thurs­day at the age of 88.

He had been in poor health for sev­eral years but his death plunged the South­east Asian na­tion of 67 mil­lion peo­ple into grief.

The streets of Bangkok were busy as usual on Fri­day morn­ing, 12 hours af­ter news of the king’s death broke. Most peo­ple dressed in black but shops opened for busi­ness.

Scott Hei­dler, re­port­ing from out­side the Bangkok hospi­tal where the king was pro­nounced dead, said that “throngs of mourn­ers” had shown up “wear­ing muted colours, mostly black.

“We are ex­pect­ing even more peo­ple to come here,” our correspondent said.

Later in the day, crowds of mourn­ers lined up pave­ments along the route of a royal mo­tor­cade that would bear the king’s body from the hospi­tal to the nearby palace com­plex.

Thou­sands of oth­ers, many hold­ing his por­trait, waited at the palace com­pound, mourn­ing the loss of the only king most have ever known and ex­press­ing anx­i­ety about the fu­ture.

Some gath­ered out­side the hospi­tal fainted in the heat and were car­ried away on stretch­ers.

The cabi­net de­clared a gov­ern­ment hol­i­day for mourn­ing, but the Stock Ex­change of Thai­land said it and “other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions” would op­er­ate as nor­mal.

Crown Prince Maha Va­ji­ra­longkorn is ex­pected to be the new king. — Al Jazeera. —

MOURN­ING: A Thai woman weeps as she holds on to a por­trait of Thai King Bhu­mi­bol Adulyadej in a line to of­fer con­do­lences for the king at Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thai­land. AP

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