Thailand declares 1-year period of mourning
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