Tens of thousands of mourners from Bangkok and upcountry lined up in long queue before dawn at Sanam Luang waiting queue numbers to enter the Grand Palace’s Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to pay tribute to their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej in front of the royal urn.
The throne hall opened to the public to tribute at 8.00am.
The tremendous crowd of mourners flocked to Sanam Luang and began to occupy spaces at the tents arranged by authorities for rest since Friday night with hope to get the first queue for entry to the throne hall.
All tents were fully occupied by midnight on Friday.
Earlier authorities planned to begin handing out queue numbers for the first group of 1,600 mourners to enter the throne hall at 8 am.
due to the large crowd of mourners, the first group of 1,600 people were granted entry with no queue numbers since 4 am, but all were thoroughly screened and checked by security personnel.
Later at 8 am, queue numbers were applied.
The throne hall will open from 8.00am until 9.00pm for mourners to pay homage to the body of the late King in the royal urn at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall.
Today is the first day that the general public is allowed to pay their last respect to the remain of His Majesty the King in front of his royal urn inside the Grand Palace’s Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall.
It was expected that 10,000 mourners will be allowed daily.
All roads surrounding the Grand Palace and Sanam Luang were closed since 7am.
Bangkok Railway Station reported all trains arriving from the provinces were crowded with mourners in black clothes.
Although the State Railway of Thailand has increased trains to cope up with the huge crowd of 120,000 people a day, it seemed that there are still large number of people wanting to travel on trains.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and the military have arranged shuttle buses to ferry train passengers to Sanam Luang free of charge.
Mr Suwapan Tanyuwattana, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, said all government agencies have convened the preparation meeting to response the huge crowd.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has increased the numbers of its buses by 10 per cent while 12-15 medical service centres would be added up from the existing centres to better cover the health care for the mourners.
The queue cards for the mourners who would pay respect in front of the royal urn was scheduled to be distributed at 7am today but Mr Suwapan said he has instructed authorities to start giving the queue cards before 7am if there were many people waiting to get the cards and the staff were ready.
The command centre has initially targeted that 10,000 mourners would be allowed to the Throne Hall on the first day, 70 people for each round until finish as the deadline could be flexible and extended.
If there is time was left, additional mourners could be permitted.
The joint management command to provide the peace and order around the Grand Palace have changed the location for queuing card distribution from opposite Thammasat University to opposite the Supreme Court office.
The Bureau of the Royal Household Bureau open the Throne Hall for mourners from 8.00am-9.00pm.