Thais honor late king with special version of royal anthem

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2016 11:09 AM
Thais honor late king with special version of royal anthem

BANGKOK (AP) — A massive crowd gathered in central Bangkok on Saturday to sing a special version of Thailand's royal anthem in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died this month.

A large field in front of the ornate Grand Palace complex was packed with black-clad mourners, as were all the approach roads. Police eventually closed the roads to traffic.

The king's body is lying in one of the palaces in the complex while royal funeral ceremonies are going on. No date has been set for cremation, which will likely take place after a year.

Led by the Siam Philharmonic Orchestra and a 100-strong choir, the crowd sang an emotional version of "San Sern Pra Baramee," or "Salute to the Monarch."

Another version was recorded Saturday night with the crowd holding candles.

Both versions were recorded and will be played on television and at cinemas. The playing of the royal anthem is a fixture before every movie showing in Thailand.

Bhumibol died Oct. 13 after reigning for 70 years, plunging the country into grief and extended mourning. The official mourning period is one year.