bangkok - He died a year ago, but the Thai king Bhumibol is only cremated on Thursday. Managing the ceremonies is a mega operation for the Thai authorities, who expect millions of mourning people in Bangkok.
The ceremonies around cremation, starting wednesday and spending five days, took about a year of preparation in advance. The military government of Thailand attracted around 3 billion baht (almost 77 million euros).
The cremation ceremony on Sanam Luang Square is attended by Queen Máxima and by other foreign princes.
Around that square can reach tens of thousands of people during the ceremonies. Rowing Thai fishing behind the net can also say goodbye to other places. For example, flowers can be placed at replicas of the royal crematorium or at one of the temples in the city.
The Thai king died on October 13 last year after seven decades on the throne. Bhumibol, formally King Rama IX, ruled over seventy years. Many Thai had no other king during their lives. Bhumibol was honored by many Thai as a deity and fulfilled a unifying role in the politically heated country.
The interest in cremation is therefore enormous. The local government, according to the Bangkok Post newspaper, expects some 5 million people to follow the day-long ceremonies at various places in the capital. Whoever secretly tries to shoot the ceremony with a drone is at risk of destroying the unmanned airplane. '
Tourists also need to be careful. 'Be respectful of the feelings of the Thai people during this period,' the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns. 'There is a ban on insulting the royal house in Thailand. This is strictly enforced with very severe penalties resulting. '