BANGKOK, 31 October 2016: Thousands of Thais streamed through gates of Bangkok’s Grand Palace at the weekend as the public was granted its first chance to enter the throne hall where the body of Late HM the King Bhumibol Adulyadej lies in state.
The Late HM the King, who died 13 October, age 88, was seen as the father of the nation by the people and an anchor of stability in a kingdom often rocked by political turmoil.
His passing has thrust the country into a year of official mourning, with many Thais wearing only black and white since his death and TV channels devoting hours of airtime to footage from his 70-year reign.
But Saturday was the first time the public has been allowed to enter the ornate throne hall where his body is lying in a coffin, out of sight, near a gilded urn.
Many in the crowd of mourners camped out in tents on the grassy parade grounds, known as Sanam Luang.
An initial plan to limit visitors to 10,000 per day was dropped Saturday after crowds swelled to 100,000, according to a monitoring centre outside the palace.
However, Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a government spokesman, urged people “not to rush to come in the early days” as the throne hall would be open for “a long time”.
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