Thailand Bids Farewell to Beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej

Crowds of people have taken to the streets of Bangkok wearing black to publicly grieve King Bhumibol Adulyadej who died at 88 on 13 October. The death of the world’s longest-reigning monarch has left Thailand bereft of its key pillar of unity and seen mass outpourings of grief.

Every day as many as 10.000 people are allowed into the Royal Palace and for the first time to enter the throne hall and see the body of the King lying in state. With his passing the country began a year of official mourning, with most Thais wearing only black and white since his death.

Thailand’s arch-royalist military government, which came to power in a 2014 coup, has encouraged mass displays of devotion for the late king and helped arrange free bus, train and boat rides to move mourners to the capital. It has also stepped up its enforcement of lese majeste – a draconian law that punishes criticism of the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison per offence.