Hundreds of thousands expected at Sanam Luang for mass royal anthem renditions; security tightened for big day
Organisers have prepared a full orchestra to help provide memorable moments.
From 1pm to 5pm, there will be multiple rounds of mass singing of the royal anthem with the backing of a full orchestra, they said.
Another highlight is scheduled for 10pm, when mourners will hold white candles and sing a last round of the royal anthem.
Newly appointed Deputy Bangkok Governor Pol Lt Gen Amnuay Nimmano said the authorities expected a huge gathering – at least 100,000 Thais to join the mass singing.
In recent days, at least 50,000 people clad in black have gathered daily at Sanam Luang next to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, where royal and religious ceremonies are taking place to pay tribute to the late King, according to Maj-General Pongsawat Panchit, deputy commander of the First Region Army, which is responsible for security around the area.
Security measures have been stepped up for today’s grand event, while emergency service providers are prepared to cope with the needs of the huge crowd expected to visit Sanam Luang over the three-day long weekend, according to Pongsawat, who chaired yesterday’s meeting of a joint security and safety command officials.
The operation will utilise officials from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), the First Army Region, the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), the Ministry of Public Health, and other related state organisations. Seven checkpoints will be set up to screen visitors before they enter the inner area of Sanam Luang.
Both male and female police will operate the checkpoints, while other personnel will patrol areas around Sanam Laung, including Rajdamnoen Road.
“This is the heartland [Sanam Luang]. We have to secure it and make sure that everything here goes smooth. We are willing to work hard for this unifying and historic event,” Pongsawat said.
He urged the authorities to take preventive measures against possible crime and handle cases of missing children and the elderly properly.
More volunteer doctors and hospital staff will be ready to help any visitors needing first aid or emergency medical treatment, he said. Pongsawat also urged to the authorities to provide more wheelchairs to facilitate the elderly and handicapped. Currently, there were 250 wheelchairs available, he said.
The BMA will assign more doctors and medical personnel to provide emergency services to visitors while officials will closely monitor the quality of ready-to-eat food donated by the public in a bid to avoid cases of food poisoning.
Wattanee Wattana, deputy permanent secretary of the BMA, said ready-to-eat food, especially food with coconut milk as an ingredient, would be bad if exposed to heat for more than four hours, so authorities would check the quality before handing out food.
In regard to traffic management, no personal or public vehicles were allowed to enter the Sanam Luang area, he said. Members of the public should commute to Sanam Luang by shuttle buses or other public transport, he said.
Tents and seats will be set up at bus stops around Sanam Luang for the public.
Today, people will be allowed to enter the Sala Sahathai Samakhom Pavilion in the Grand Palace to sign the condolence book in memory of the King while the royal anthem singing is underway, the command centre said.
But certain streets around Sanam Luang, where royal motorcades regularly pass, remain closed and people joining the singing are not allowed to enter those prohibited zones, Amnuay said.
But he said the preserved routes could be used for emergency purposes during the singing event.
Tonight’s singing is being organised by a team headed by Prince Chatrichalerm Yukol. Organisers discussed the preparation plan for the singing yesterday with the command centre officials.
The major concern of authorities was emergency cases, so the number of doctors and other volunteer medics would be increased, Amnuay said.
According to the Royal Household Bureau, around 225,000 people have signed the condolence book since last Saturday – an average of 40,000 to 50,000 people per day. And last Saturday saw the highest turnout – about 70,000.
From Friday, people will be allowed to pay their respects to the King in the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace, where the monarch’s body rests.
Sourse: The Nation