Hundreds of thousands sing for late Thai king

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The majority of mourners who turned out for Saturday’s tribute were dressed in black, with many holding portraits of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who was seen as a rare figure of unity in a country dogged by political turmoil.

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in the short concert, along with a 100-person choir backed by the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra.

The royal anthem, known as “Sansoen Phra Barami,” is played before the screening of every film in Thai cinemas, when the audience stands to honor the king as pictures of his life and work are shown on the screen.

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej

“The atmosphere is amazing,” said Sethabutra Biraseranee, who like most was dressed in all black despite Bangkok’s sweltering midday sun. “As you can see, all these people here came just to pay their respects to him, which shows how great he was.”

Mass mourning

Saturday’s tribute was held in Sanam Luang Park, close to the Grand Palace, where royal and religious rites have been taking place for the late monarch.

Thai filmmaker Chatrichalerm Yukol organized and recorded the event for TV and cinema replay.

Bhumibol’s death on October 13 has plunged the nation into grief, with the government declaring a one-year mourning period.

Thailand’s military government has not set a date for the royal cremation, but it is expected in about a year.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is due to ascend the thrown soon but he has asked for a delay so that he can grieve with the people.

mm/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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