About 200 people who identified themselves as from two groups, “Phuket protectors of the throne” and “Phuket pro-monarchy club, gathered at the park, on the outskirts of Phuket Town, at about 6pm.
Several local key people delivered speeches about the achievements of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama 9) on a stage set up at the park. Among the speakers were Narong Chuenniran, former Director of the Phuket office of the national government television broadcaster National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT).
The speeches focussed on people’s appreciation of King Bhumibol’s achievements during his 70-year reign.
“I want every Thai person to love the monarchy and each other,” Mr Narong said.
After the speeches had concluded, the supporters held a candle-lit ceremony to pledge an oath to protect the monarchy, and then sang the royal anthem.
The supporters disbanded peacefully and left the site at 7pm.
Officers from the Phuket City Police were present throughout the gathering.
The pro-royal event in Phuket came as thousands of yellow-clad people gathered at Sanam Luang in Bangkok last night to greet Their Majesties the King and the Queen and light candles to mark the birthday of late HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great and the national Father’s Day.
The government, which organised the ceremony, earlier invited people to greet Their Majesties, pay tribute to the late king and show their loyalty to the royal family at 7:19pm, reported the Bangkok Post.
It marked the first time Their Majesties presided over the annual ceremony and joined Thais in lighting candles for the occasion.
Their Majesties also gave people brooches as souvenirs for the important event.
People who joined the ceremony were advised to wear outfits made of Thai-made fabric, or local or national attire.
Among those in attendance were actors including Duantem Salitul and Methanee “Nino” Buranasiri. Former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban was also spotted, and activist Suvit Thongprasert (the former monk once known as Buddha Issara) was seen handing out drinking water and snacks to attendees.
Yellow continues to be the royal colour since, like his father, His Majesty was also born on a Monday.
Saturday’s ceremony was one of the biggest shows of support for the monarchy since protests, some of them calling for reform of the institution, began gathering pace in July.
“The king has always been there to take care of people’s happiness, and without the king there would be chaos,” Wanchote Kunprasert, 65, told Reuters.
Another man who was holding a portrait of King Bhumibol said respect for the monarchy is deeply ingrained in Thai culture and dismissed the protests that call for its reform.
“The monarchy has been with us for centuries, how can you change that by just a few months of protests,” said Sirinan Jungwatmunee, 63.