10/03/2017, 12.06
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More than 12 million Thais pay tribute to the late king in Bangkok

The country has been in mourning for the past year. King Bhumibol was the longest reigning monarch in the world. About 250,000 people will take part in the funeral. Groups of dissidents could cause disruptions.

Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Two days before the deadline for paying tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the number of Thais paying their respect before the Royal Urn at the Bangkok's Great Palace topped 12 million.

As the year of mourning comes to an end, preparations are underway across the country for the royal funeral (25-29 October) and the cremation ceremony (26 October) of the late sovereign.

King Bhumibol, 88, was the longest reigning monarch in the world. After his death on 13 October 2016, massive public demonstrations of sorrow followed. Many Thais chose to wear black or white for the duration of mourning.

Very popular with ordinary Thais, he was the symbol of national unity and protector of all religions.

The Royal Household Bureau reported today that about 12.5 million mourners visited the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the past 334 days. Thursday is the final day for public viewing.

The deadline had been set for 30 September, but the new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, ordered postponement because of the great number of visitors and outpouring of devotion. Donations made in the late king’s honour now total Bt 870,377,871 (US$ 26 million)

Meanwhile, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered tighter security measures before and during the various ceremonies, after intelligence sources reported that dissident groups might try to cause disruptions. About 250,000 people are expected at the funeral service at Saman Luang Square.

Although vast, the Royal Crematorium will not be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. For this reason, the government has approved the erection of replicas in 85 sites around the country.

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