For the first morning in 70 years, Thailand woke up without its King
Bangkok, Oct 14: For the first morning in 70 years, Thailand woke up without its King.
As dawn broke, the streets were awash with grief as the reality of the Thursday evening passing of King Bhumibol Adulyadej began to set in.
The tide of pink and yellow, worn as a show of support for his majesty, has now made way for a sea of black.
Friday has been declared a public holiday for government offices by the Thai cabinet, according to an announcement on state television.
It’s quiet on the normally bustling streets of Bangkok as stone-faced Thais set out on their morning commutes.
Overnight, workers could be seen paving the roads outside Bangkok's Grand Palace, where the King's body will be transported.
On Bangkok’s Skytrains, digital screens which normally show loud advertisements have been turned off.
But Bangkok is carrying on with its regular routines as much as possible.
Many businesses are operating as normal — the public holiday is discretionary for private companies. Open restaurants have their televisions tuned to royal documentaries, which are airing on all channels.
And outside the Grand Palace, where the King’s body will be moved Friday afternoon, mourners have already begun to claim spaces to watch the procession. Many have been camped out as early as midnight.
“I couldn’t sleep and I didn’t want to sit around at home, I had to do something as I was feeling so sad,” says Patarapong Chankaw, 28. “So I came to the grand palace to be with other mourners.”
He’s been at the Grand Palace since 5 a.m. local time and plans to stay until the procession is over.