BANGKOK (AP) — A ceremony in an ornate throne hall began the transfer of the remains of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej to his spectacular golden crematorium in the royal quarter of Bangkok after a year of mourning for the monarch Thais hailed as “Father.”
Three separate and intensely solemn processions involving thousands of troops, a golden palanquin, a chariot and a royal gun carriage will move the royal urn representing Bhumibol’s remains from the Dusit Maha Prasad Throne Hall to the crematorium. The journey along a 2-kilometer (1.2-mile) route will take at least three hours and is being watched by tens of thousands of mourners dressed all in black and broadcast across the country.
Thais have braved tropical heat and torrential downpours to secure street-side vantage points to witness the funeral. Thousands of police and volunteers are on hand to ensure order and entry into the royal quarter, which has been tightly controlled to eliminate the faint possibility of protest against the monarchy or military government.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Kenyan police fired tear gas at stone-throwing protesters in some opposition areas after the start of Kenya’s second presidential election since August, reflecting bitter divisions in a country whose main opposition leader urged his followers to boycott the vote.
Violence erupted in Nairobi’s Kibera slum and Kisumu, a major city in western Kenya where protesters set fires and blocked roads and many polling stations didn’t open because of security concerns. One Kisumu primary school that saw huge lines of voters when it served as a polling station in Kenya’s Aug. 8 election was closed this time around and had its gates locked.
“We are not going to vote and we are not going to allow it,” said Olga Onyanga, an opposition supporter in Kisumu.
Voting, meanwhile, proceeded in areas where President Uhuru Kenyatta has support but fewer voters were turning out in comparison to the August election that the Supreme Court nullified because it found illegalities and irregularities in the election process.
Voters lined up before dawn at a polling station in Kenyatta’s hometown of Gatundu and electoral workers prepared ballot papers by flashlight after heavy rains knocked out power to the site.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An explosion and inferno at a firecracker factory near the Indonesian capital killed at least 23 people and injured dozens, police said.
The fire began at the factory next to a residential area in Tangerang, a city in Banten province on the western outskirts of Jakarta. A police report said the fire spread after an explosion and that the factory’s roof had collapsed.
Tangerang police chief Hary Kurniawan said more than 40 injured people were being treated at three hospitals.
The factory had been operating for less than two months, he said.
Indonesia’s MetroTV, quoting a local official, said although the factory had a permit, its proximity to a residential area was against regulations. Safety laws are often inconsistently enforced in Indonesia.