BANGKOK — The Latest on the funeral of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (all times local):
The five-day funeral for King Bhumibol Adulyadej has officially begun with a Buddhist merit making ceremony in the throne hall of Dusit palace in the capital Bangkok’s historic quarter.
The ceremony is in preparation for moving an urn, representing Bhumibol’s remains, on Thursday morning to a golden crematorium built over the past year for the funeral.
By tradition, the bodies of deceased members of the royal family have been kept upright in an elaborate urn. But Bhumibol and his late mother and sister, who all spent much of their early lives in the West, opted to be put in a coffin, with the urn still placed next to it for devotional purposes.
Bhumibol’s son, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, is performing merit making rites at the throne hall watched by other members of the royal family.
Thai television stations broadcast an hour-long documentary about Bhumibol’s life before the merit-making ceremony.
Police are trying to calm occasional flare-ups of tension among mourners who’ve waited under the hot sun to enter the cordoned-off area in Bangkok where elaborate ceremonies and processions for King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s (POO-mee-pon AH-dun-yaa-det) funeral will take place.
There have been accusations of queue jumping and sharp exchanges between some of the black-clad mourners, many of whom have endured heat and tropical downpours for at least a day as they waited to enter.
Volunteers are handing out water as the crowds slowly move through security checks into the historic royal quarter.
Mourner Banterng Saeuong proudly says “I was born in the reign of King Rama 9,” as Bhumibol is also known. “This is the most important event in my lifetime.”
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