6,500+ cops deployed as Pope Francis arrives in Bangkok

Pope Francis looks on during a general audience on Oct. 2 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Photo: Tiziana Fabi / AFP
Pope Francis looks on during a general audience on Oct. 2 at St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. Photo: Tiziana Fabi / AFP

More than 6,500 police officers had been deployed across the capital today to ensure security as Pope Francis is scheduled to land just after noon for a four-day visit.

A command center has been set up to facilitate traffic flow and provide security for the pope’s visit, during which he will meet the king, prime minister and the nation’s top Buddhist monk, according to a deputy national police chief.

Gen. Suwat Chaengyodsuk added that checkpoints have been set up to screen those who wish to see Pope Francis in person.

Today, Wednesday, security measures are expected to impact routes the pope will use to transit from the airport into town. That includes church properties near BTS Surasak on lower Sathon Road, the Don Muang Tollway and Rama IV Road between the toll plaza and Sathon. They will be used by the pope’s motorcade from 12:30pm until at least 1pm.

On Thursday, the pope will meet Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and his cabinet at the Government House, where he will give a speech. He then will visit Wat Ratchabophit to meet the supreme patriarch. 

The same day, he will visit patients and medical professionals at Saint Louis Hospital on Sathorn Road. After a meal at the Apostolic Nunciature Embassy of the Holy See, the pope will go to the Amphorn Satharn Villa to see King Vajiralongkorn. The day ends with a mass ritual at the National Stadium. 

For Friday, the pope will visit Catholic priests and bishops at St. Peter’s Church in Nakhon Pathom’s Sam Phran district. Then he’ll come back to the Holy See for a break before holding another mass at Assumption Cathedral in the capital’s Bang Rak district. 

The 82-year-old pope will depart Bangkok for Tokyo on Saturday morning. Bangkok is the only stop in Southeast Asia that Francis will make. 

After Bangkok, the pope will visit Japan to meet Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from Nov. 23 to Nov. 26. 

Related:

Persecuted Catholics ‘honored’ to glimpse Pope Francis in Thailand

Thai convent weaves ‘beautiful’ robes for Pope Francis visit

Pope Francis to meet Thai king, PM and top monk

Pope Francis coming to Thailand in November

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