Thai king celebrated in post-coronation procession | News | DW | 05.05.2019
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Thai king celebrated in post-coronation procession

Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn has made his first public appearance since being crowned. Tens of thousands of people gathered to watch him being paraded through the streets on a golden platform.

Thailand's newly crowned monarch began a 7-kilometer (4-mile) procession through the streets of Bangkok on Sunday which took him along cheering crowds to three Buddhist temples in different parts of the city. The parade is a part of the three-day coronation ritual for the 66-year-old King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The king left the Grand Palace on a golden palanquin borne by 16 men wearing orange. The parade was accompanied by cavalry soldiers, a military marching band and royal guards in a variety of ancient Thai and contemporary Western-style uniforms. 

Tens of thousands of well-wishers brandishing both Thai and royal flags and wearing yellow — a color associated with the monarch — lined the route for the rare spectacle.

King Vajiralongkorn succeeded his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016 after a reign of almost 70 years.

The 66-year-old had already served as king for more than two years, throughout an official period of mourning. 

Read more: Will Thailand's new king be a unifying figure?

During the procession — the king's first public appearance since he was crowned — he was scheduled to pay homage to the main Buddha images at each temple.

He received his crown on Saturday amid the splendor of Bangkok's Golden Palace in a mixed Buddhist-Hindu ceremony, which was televised live on all channels across the country.

The "Great Crown of Victory" is said to date from 1782. It is 66 centimeters (26 inches) high and weighs 7.3 kilograms (16 pounds).

Later on Saturday, Vajiralongkorn held an audience for royal family members, the Privy Council and top government officials, and he visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, where he pledged to defend the Buddhist faith.

One of the many titles the new king will be known by, as the 10th king of the Chakri dynasty, is Rama X.

The country has been run by an archroyalist junta since 2014. Critics say that an election held in March was rigged to favor the military and its preferred candidate, Prayuth Chan-Ocha.

Prayuth led the coup that saw the powerful army entrenched in government, and he has led the junta since.

rc,dj/amp (dpa, Reuters)

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