clear
Friday November 17th, 2017 12:19PM

Thais bear tropical sun, downpours to witness king's funeral

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

BANGKOK (AP) — Enduring the tropical heat of the day and torrents of rain at night, thousands of mourners dressed entirely in black are filling the royal quarter of Thailand's capital for the elaborate funeral of a monarch adored as a unifying symbol throughout his seven-decade reign.

Some had waited for a day or two to enter the cordoned-off area that will be the focal point for five days of solemn ceremony including King Bhumibol Adulyadej's (POO-mee-pon AH-dun-yaa-det) cremation on Thursday evening within a spectacular golden edifice that represents mystical Mount Meru where Buddhist and Hindu gods are believed to dwell.

About 250,000 people are expected to line streets to witness elaborate gilded processions that will be broadcast live. The funeral officially begins midafternoon Wednesday with a Buddhist merit-making ceremony in the throne room of the Dusit palace.

Mourner Banterng Saeuong said the funeral is the most important event in his lifetime. "I am happy to stand in the rain or sit under the sun," said the 55-year-old.

Bhumibol's death at age 88 on Oct. 13 last year sparked a national outpouring of grief and a year of mourning. More than 12 million people, which represents nearly a fifth of Thailand's population, visited the palace throne hall where the king's body has been kept for the past year.

The reverence Bhumibol inspired was in part the result of decades of work by palace officials to rebuild the prestige of the monarchy, which lost its mystique and power after a 1932 coup ended centuries of absolute rule by Thai kings.

That effort built an aura of divinity around Bhumibol, who was also protected from criticism by draconian lese majeste laws, but the king was also respected for his charitable work, personal modesty and as a symbol of stability in a nation frequently rocked by political turmoil and surrounded by Southeast Asian neighbors beset by colonial and revolutionary strife.

The funeral will be an intensely somber event but also rich in history and cultural and spiritual tradition. Mourners are allowed to prostrate when royal processions pass but must not shout out "Long Live The King" or hold up mobile phones to take photos or selfies.

Yuwadee Tyler said she had come from Hobart in Australia where she has lived for more than a decade.

"When I know my king is passed away, my heart is broken," she said. "I am so glad to be here."

Police are trying to calm occasional flare-ups of tension among mourners.

There have been accusations of queue jumping and sharp exchanges between some who've waited hours or traveled from far away.

Volunteers handed out water to offset the tropical heat as the crowded slowly moved through security checks into the historic royal quarter. Portraits of King Bhumibol were held by many in the crowd, and some wore plastic raincoats during the heaviest rains overnight — the only bits of color breaking up the sea of black as the crowds grew.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Thais bear tropical sun, downpours to witness king's funeral
After enduring relentless tropical heat by day and torrential downpours at night, thousands of black clad mourners are slowly filing into a historic royal quarter of Thailand's capital to bid farewell to King Bhumibol Adulyadej
1:16AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Funeral for Thai king a 5-day marathon of intense solemnity
Thais are known for their highly emotional adulation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, but his five-day funeral will be an intensely somber event governed by strict protocols for how people conduct themselves
1:12AM ( 22 minutes ago )
China's Xi given 2nd 5-year term as Communist Party leader
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been given a second five-year term as leader of the ruling Communist Party
1:09AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
California's chief justice gives bail reform a boost
California's chief justice calls for end to cash bail that critics say disproportionately hurts poor defendants
12:21AM ( 1 hour ago )
Doping scandal roils another sport: Dogsledding
The world's most famous dog sled race was dealt another blow from a doping scandal that follows the loss of major sponsors, numerous dog deaths and pressure from animal rights activists
12:19AM ( 1 hour ago )
Another Air Canada jet safety issue at San Francisco airport
The Federal Aviation Authority is investigating why an Air Canada plane ignored repeated orders by an air traffic controller at San Francisco International Airport to abort a landing
12:15AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
You own it: New Zealand party told to pay for Eminem rip-off
A court has ordered New Zealand's main conservative political party to pay Eminem's publisher $415,000 for breaching copyright by using a song too similar to Eminem's "Lose Yourself" in its campaign ads
11:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Senate GOP moves to repeal consumer rule
The Republican-led Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to repeal a banking rule that would let consumers band together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes
11:30PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP source: Clinton camp helped fund Trump dossier research
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund a political research firm that produced a dossier of allegations about President Donald Trump's ties to Russia
10:59PM ( 2 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Funeral for Thai king a 5-day marathon of intense solemnity
Thais are known for their highly emotional adulation of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, but his five-day funeral will be an intensely somber event governed by strict protocols for how people conduct themselves
1:12AM ( 22 minutes ago )
China's Xi given 2nd 5-year term as Communist Party leader
Chinese President Xi Jinping has been given a second five-year term as leader of the ruling Communist Party
1:09AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Hollywood story: Hill goes from Long Island Ducks to Series
Rich Hill is living a Hollywood story, going from the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League to a World Series start in 26 months.
1:01AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Nissan executive bows to apologize for inspections scandal
Nissan Executive Vice President Daniele Schillaci has bowed deeply at the Nissan booth at the Tokyo Motor Show to apologize for recent illegal inspections at the automaker
1:00AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Kershaw, Dodgers beat Astros 3-1 in hot World Series opener
Kershaw, Dodgers beat Astros 3-1 in hot World Series opener
12:58AM ( 35 minutes ago )