Thousands line procession route as Thailand begins year of mourning for king

Thailand has started a year of mourning to mark the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose 70-year reign made him the longest-serving monarch in the world. Hundreds of people dressed mostly in traditional mourning colours of black and white gathered outside Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok where the monarch had been treated for a variety of conditions over much of the past decade. Thousands more have lined the streets on the route of a procession to bring his body across the Chao Phraya river to a temple in the Grand Palace complex. His son, Thailand’s crown prince, has arrived at the hospital to receive the body.

I really loved him. Now I am afraid of what may happen, about the administration of the country, the type of regime in the long term.

Arnon Sangwiman, a 54-year-old electricity company employee

King Bhumibol had been in poor health for several years but his death on Thursday has shocked the South-east Asian nation of 67 million people. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is expected to be the new king but commentators say he does not command the same adoration that his father earned over a lifetime on the throne. As mourning began, a public holiday was declared on Friday morning after people had already gone to work. The stock market and banks remained open, as did Thai embassies worldwide. People have been urged to refrain from organising entertainment events for a month, but the government is mindful of the need to ensure that the sputtering economy does not suffer.

He was a true servant leader, acting with wisdom, strength, humility, and genuine care for the welfare of all people

Former US president Bill Clinton