Massive crowds of black-clad Thais converged on Bangkok’s Grand Palace on Saturday to sing the royal anthem in a striking display of devotion to the recently deceased HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The monarch, who died on October 13 following years of poor health, was seen as a moral icon and rare figure of unity in a kingdom dogged by corruption and political turmoil.
His death has plunged the nation into grief, with the government declaring a one-year mourning period and urging the public to don black and dial down all festivities for at least 30 days.
Crowds have been massing outside his glittering Bangkok palace for the past week, with many journeying from far away provinces to pay respects to a man celebrated as the father of the nation.
Some have pitched tents on a large grassy field outside the royal compound, while others have slept on simple bamboo mats.
On Saturday, a sea of black filled the parade field and surrounding streets as the enormous crow stood to sing the royal anthem alongside a professional orchestra and choir.
Many held up portraits or bank notes bearing HM King Bhumibol’s face as they sang, some through tears.
“The atmosphere is amazing,” said Sethabutra Biraseranee, who like most was dressed in all black despite Bangkok’s sweltering midday sun.
“As you can see, all these people here came just to pay their respects to him, which shows how great he was.”
Watch the ThaiPBS live Facebook broadcast of the ceremony below:
And here’s a collection of images showing the extent of the crowd.
Photo: Thai PBS screengrab
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