Thais fill the streets to pay respects to their King

Thais lining the streets to pay their respects as the royal convoy carries the body of King Bhumibol from the Siriraj Hospital, where he died on Thursday, to his riverside Grand Palace in Bangkok. The city was in a sombre mood as Thailand began a yea
Thais lining the streets to pay their respects as the royal convoy carries the body of King Bhumibol from the Siriraj Hospital, where he died on Thursday, to his riverside Grand Palace in Bangkok. The city was in a sombre mood as Thailand began a year-long mourning period for the monarch.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • Thousands of Thais dressed in black lined the streets of Bangkok yesterday to pay their respects to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, as the country began a year- long mourning period for the 88-year- old monarch.

A royal convoy, accompanied by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, 64, transported the body of the King from Siriraj Hospital, where he died on Thursday, to his riverside Grand Palace. The King's body will remain there for at least 100 days for Buddhist rites.

For his 68 million subjects, King Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving monarch who ascended the throne in 1946, was the only king that most of them had ever known.

His death leaves Thailand without a king for the first time after the heir apparent, the Crown Prince, asked for time before assuming the throne.

Under the rules of succession, the head of the Privy Council assumes the role of Acting Regent if the throne is vacant. The current chief is retired general and former prime minister Prem Tinsulanonda.

Bangkok's gaudy electronic billboards went black, displaying instead tributes to King Bhumibol.

Some cinemas cancelled all screenings.

 

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The Thai government declared yesterday a holiday, but it was business as usual at the stock exchange.

Leading a regional rally, Thai- land's stocks rose 4.6 per cent, the most since 2013, and the baht gained nearly 1 per cent against the US dollar.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 15, 2016, with the headline 'Thais fill the streets to pay respects to their King'. Print Edition | Subscribe