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UN special session to honour the King

UNITED STATES: The United Nations (UN) will hold a special assembly session this evening (Oct 28) (Thailand time) to honour His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, according to Virachai Plasai, Thailand’s ambassador to the UN.

By Bangkok Post

Friday 28 October 2016, 09:19AM

Their Majesties the King and Queen visited United Nations headquarters in New York City in 1967, escorted by UN Secretary-General U Thant (between the royal couple). Now the entire UN will hold a special session to honour the late King Bhumibol. Photo: UN Multimedia via Bangkok Post

Their Majesties the King and Queen visited United Nations headquarters in New York City in 1967, escorted by UN Secretary-General U Thant (between the royal couple). Now the entire UN will hold a special session to honour the late King Bhumibol. Photo: UN Multimedia via Bangkok Post

Mr Virachai said the rare special session in the UN building in New York would begin at 10am today (9pm Thailand time). Representatives of member countries would have the opportunity to speak in honour of the late King.

The special session is expected to last 15 minutes, Mr Virachai said.

It would begin with an address by the chairman of the UN General Assembly, followed by the chairs of five regions and Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN.

Mr Virachai said he would be the last person to make a speech.

The event would be broadcast live on the UN’s webcast, the ambassador said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Bangkok Governor Amnuay Nimmano said that the government’s joint peace-maintaining command centre has concluded that the number of mourners who will pay their respects before the late monarch’s body in the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in the Grand Palace will be limited to 10,000 each day.

Starting tomorrow (Oct 29), mourners will be allowed to pay their respects before the Royal Funeral Urn of the late King from 8am to 9pm after the 15-day royal merit-making ceremony is completed today.

Those who participate must obtain queue numbers at Wat Maha That Yuwarat Rangsarit near the Grand Palace and groups of 150 at a time will be led inside the throne hall, Lt Gen Amnuay said, adding that authorities will assess whether more mourners will be allowed in the Grand Palace.

Lt Gen Amnuay also said security has been beefed up around Sanam Luang, with police deployed on the top floors of nearby buildings as part of security measures.

Col Winthai Suvaree, spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said that those queuing to get inside the Grand Palace must initially wait at 20 tents set up outside Wat Maha That which can accommodate up to 20,000 people.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said about 3,000 police officers will be on hand to ensure the safety of mourners and to facilitate their movement from tomorrow onwards.

Gen Chakthip added that 1,300 closed circuit television cameras installed around Sanam Luang are fully functional.

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Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Sanit Mahathavorn said that he has instructed police officers to be more thorough when searching people entering the Grand Palace.

In addition to the existing eight checkpoints, nine more checkpoints have been set up to screen people around Sanam Luang, Lt Gen Sanit said, adding that soldiers will also be asked to assist police in carrying out checks.

Security checkpoints have also been set up on the outskirts of Bangkok to search suspicious-looking vehicles and people heading into the capital, Lt Gen Sanit said.

Lt Gen Sanit also suggested that people be allowed to request a queue number to enter the Grand Palace in advance via the internet.

Army deputy spokeswoman Sirichan Ngathong said yesterday (Oct 27) that army chief Gen Chalermchai Sitthisart has ordered army camps in all regions to provide rest areas for people heading to Bangkok to pay their respects to His Majesty the late King.

Col Sirichan said army units had been ordered to work with local government officials to assist mourners from the start of their trips until they return home.

Rest areas will be provided for travellers from the North at Jiraprawat Camp in Nakhon Sawan; at Sripatcharin Camp in Khon Kaen and Suranaree Camp in Nakhon Ratchasima for people from the Northeast; Thanarat Camp in Prachuap Khiri Khan for those from the South; and at a location on Buddha Monthon Sai 4 Rd for people from the East, West and Central Region.

All rest areas will offer parking for vehicles and mourners will be provided with food, water, toilets and medical services, Col Sirichan said.

In the outskirts of Bangkok, mourners will be able to stop over at Impact Arena in Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi and at a location in the Buddha Monthon area in Nakhon Pathom. They will be provided with free transportation to Ratchadamnoen Ave and Sanam Luang from both locations. They will also be advised on how to properly pay their respects before the Royal Urn.

From tomorrow, about 200 personnel – territorial defence students, cadets and nursing students from all the armed forces, and army medical students – will be assigned each day to ensure that mourners pay their respects to the late King properly, Col Sirichan said.

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