PEOPLE who wish to witness first-hand the grand processions in honour of HM the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the day of his Royal Cremation will probably have to move into designated areas at least one day in advance.
Prime areas for mourners will be able to accommodate only about 40,000 people, and officials will start allowing people to occupy positions at 5am on October 25.
The royal processions will take place the next day, moving from the Grand Palace to the Royal Crematorium in the Sanam Luang area.
Other people can watch the solemn royal processions on TV, as the Television Pool of Thailand will broadcast the event live. Members of the mass media are not allowed to broadcast the royal ceremonies via Facebook Live. But people at the event may use the social-media features if their signal is good enough amid the crowds.
The Royal Cremation ceremonies will run from October 25 to 29. The actual cremation will take place on October 26, which has been declared a national holiday.
The late monarch passed away on October 13 last year, after seven decades on the throne. To the Thai people, his passing was an historic loss, as he had been the beloved paternal and unifying figure of the nation.
Royal Funeral and Cremation ceremonies, therefore, have a high importance and great significance for the country. More than 12 million people, or about one-fifth of the population, have been to the Grand Palace during the past year to pay respects before his Royal Urn.
Government Spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that people could reserve spots at prime areas near the processions of the Royal Cremation on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“The nearby areas can accommodate about 200,000 people. But only about 40,000 in the prime areas will be able to get a glimpse of the royal procession,” he said.
The areas are the portion of Maharaj Road between the Tha Chang and Tha Tien; the footpath along Maharaj Road from Tha Tien to Chetuphon Intersection; the area in front of the Supreme Court on Rajdamnoen Nai Avenue from the City Pillar Shrine to the Phan Pipop Bridge; and the pavement along the Na Phra That Road from the Phra Chan Intersection to the National Theatre.
Volunteers assisting with the Royal Cremation Ceremony for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej clean the area around the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang in Bangkok yesterday, decorating with plants and performing other related works. More than 300,000 volunteers applied to assist in eight tasks for the event. The tasks include |making cremation flowers, helping with public relations, construction, transportation, public services, |medical services, security and traffic control.
While waiting, people cannot use tents or mats to lie down. “Bring along food, water and smelling salt as preparations,” Sansern said.
He said officials at the screening entry point would constantly check the number of people in the area near the venue so as to update others as to how far they could go.
“This way, people can decide whether they will try to get as close to the venues as possible. Or they can go to one of the replicas of the Royal Crematorium and pay respects to the late King there instead,” he said.
There are 76 replicas of the Royal Crematorium across the country. This is in addition to the arches provided for sandalwood flowers to pay final respects to the late King.
Giant screens will be installed in the area near the arches and replicas so people can watch what is going on in the actual venue of the Royal Cremation ceremonies.