BANGKOK, 5 October 2017: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered tighter security measures before and during the Royal Cremation of the revered late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
More than 11 million Thais from around the country have paid their respects in person to their late King at the Grand Palace over the past year, according to official figures.
The premier had assigned the military, police, the National Security Council and the National Intelligence Agency to prepare the funeral security plan.
However, due to estimates that the throng of mourners could reach a million, or more, deputy junta chairman, General Prawit Wongsuwan, said security has been stepped up and full-scale security measures would be implemented for the funeral rites, culminating with the cremation 26 October. The day has been declared a public holiday.
Observers expect millions of mourners to gather around Sanam Luang, (the Royal Parade Ground where the cremation pyre has been erected) to witness the king’s farewell in a ceremony the likes of which has not been seen for generations.
Many hotels near the Grand Palace are fully booked, during 24 to 29 October, as Thais from home and abroad descend upon the metropolis in huge numbers.
“This will be one of the biggest funerals, the world has ever witnessed,” Gen. Prawit said. “We have to do our best to to maintain security and safety for those attending.”
“Some 70,000 security officers will be deployed to keep the peace”, he added.
Defense spokesman Major General Kongcheep Tantravanich, responding to questions of security, in a recent Khaosod newspaper interview, “If there are attempts to disrupt the royal funeral, or do something to prevent things from going smoothly – we are prepared to respond quickly.”
(Source: Andrew Wood. Visit http://www.ajwoodbkk.com/)