Thais in sober mood as late King's cremation approaches

Thai mourners outside the Grand Palace last Thursday. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's body is lying in state in the throne hall.
Thai mourners outside the Grand Palace last Thursday. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's body is lying in state in the throne hall.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BANGKOK • Bangkok's streets have turned monochrome as the military government in Thailand urged the public to wear black and white, and mute celebrations in the weeks leading up to the cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The kingdom has been prepping for the elaborate royal funeral since King Bhumibol, a charismatic monarch who commanded a cult-like following during his 70-year reign, died last October.

His passing plunged the nation into a year of official mourning that has been heavily orchestrated by the ultra-royalist junta, which grabbed power in 2014.

In his weekly address on Friday night, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged the public to adhere to mourning guidelines as the Oct 26 cremation approaches.

He also asked TV stations and entertainment venues not to schedule any overly joyous material. Last month, the broadcasting authorities issued detailed guidelines for TV channels, including instructions to "include special programmes to recall King Bhumibol's royal grace".

King Bhumibol, who was 88 when he died of health complications, was revered as a unifying figure in politically turbulent Thailand.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 08, 2017, with the headline 'Thais in sober mood as late King's cremation approaches'. Print Edition | Subscribe