Asia-Pacific

Thailand weeps as body of much-loved king is carried through streets to temple

BANGKOK, THAILAND - OCTOBER 14: Thai people reacts while Motorcade carries the body of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej to the Grand Palace on October 14, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, died at the age of 88 in Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital on Thursday after his 70-year reign. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha made a statement Thailand would hold a one-year mourning period as the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn confirmed that he would perform his duty as heir to the throne.

Thousands of people sobbed openly as they lined both sides of the road for the funeral procession of their much-loved king in the Thai capital Bangkok on Friday. They wept as King Bhumibol Adulyadej's body was carried in a casket from the hospital where he died at the age of 88 to the Grand Palace. There, his son presided over the bathing of the king's body, a traditional Buddhist funeral rite. It will lie in a temple in the complex for people to pay their respects. No date has been set for the cremation.

I really loved him. Now I am afraid of what may happen, about the administration of the country, the type of regime in the long term.

Arnon Sangwiman, a 54-year-old electricity company employee

King Bhumibol, who reigned for 70 years, had been in poor health for several years but his death on Thursday has shocked the nation. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is expected to be the new king but commentators say he does not command the same adoration as his father. As a year of mourning began, a public holiday was declared on Friday morning after people had already gone to work. The stock market and banks remained open, as did Thai embassies worldwide. People have been urged to refrain from organising entertainment events for a month, but the government is mindful of the need to ensure that the sputtering economy does not suffer.

He was a true servant leader, acting with wisdom, strength, humility, and genuine care for the welfare of all people

Former US president Bill Clinton
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Bhumibol Adulyadej

Bhumibol Adulyadej, known as King Bhumibol the Great, was the ninth monarch of Thailand from the Chakri Dynasty as Rama IX. Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he was, at the time of his death, the world's longest-serving head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, serving for 70 years, 126 days.

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