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Sanam Luang control area closed, as queues increased

Sanam Luang control area closed, as queues increased

Some screening points to enter the Royal Cremation Ceremony at Sanam Luang were temporarily closed on Wednesday morning as the outer spaces of the ceremony ground began filling up.

Only the fourth and fifth screening points, at Mother Earth Statue and Ministry of Interior, were opened during this time.

People who were queuing outside the ninth screening point were told to wait, as nearly all entrances to the ceremony ground were closed to new arrivals. Officers informed them that they would have to wait until further space inside Sanam Luang was opened to the public.

Pol Major Pongsakorn Tan-ari, the chief officer at the ninth screening point at Pinklao Bridge, said it was close at 6 am, only a few hours after it was opened.

“We still don’t know yet when we can reopen the screening point because we have to wait for a command from above,” Pongsakorn said.

He could not give an exact time for reopening. He said all checkpoints had different amounts of available space inside the ceremony ground and each entrance could provide access to a limited area. Therefore, he said, crowd management would differ from one screening point to another.

 The crowd reacted to the closure with anger, as they had to wait longer without any assurance that they would have a seat inside the ceremony ground. Officers tried to calm the people down and told new arrivals to queue at the Mother Earth Statue entrance instead.

According to Pongsakorn, 2,000 people had already entered the ceremony ground from the ninth entrance point. The overall number of people trying to get into the grounds could not be determined because there had been no overall calculation yet.

The Royal Cremation ceremonial grounds can receive around 60,000 people.

As of mid-morning on Wednesday, people could only access to the outer areas of Sanam Luang, while the space inside the plaza was still off limits to the public. One officer on duty said that the area was closed because there was limited access to toilets and other facilities inside Sanam Luang.

It was disclosed that the queue outside the ninth screening point was already as far back at Bang Lamphu, with more people still queuing up on Wednesday morning.  Source: Nations

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