King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has made a rare public appearance, amid concerns for his ailing health.
In TV footage released on December 14 by the palace he is seen swearing in judges at a Bangkok hospital where he has been staying.
The 88-year-old king has received treatment for a number of ailments including a lung infection.
The health of the monarch is of public concern as he is widely revered and seen as an arbiter in the country’s divided political arena.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who is the world’s longest serving monarch, was last seen in September in a video released by the palace.
The king missed his birthday celebrations for the second consecutive year on December 5. The event was marked by a cycling event last week in Bangkok led by his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Palace officials did not give any further details of the king’s health on December 14.
King Bhumibol has been in and out of hospitals for the past few years and has had operations to remove his gallbladder and to treat hydrocephalus – an excessive build-up of fluid on the brain.
The monarch was re-admitted to Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok in June, shortly after he was discharged.
King Bhumibol’s popularity stems partly from his long reign, but he is also seen as a pillar of stability in Thailand which has been wracked by political strife in recent years and is currently governed by a military-led government.
Strict lese majeste laws ban any criticism of King Bhumibol or the royal family.
Three people died and more than 20 others have been injured in an attack on an anti-government protest camp in Bangkok, Thai officials say.
Witnesses reported explosions and gunfire early on Thursday at a protest camp at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument.
Protesters have been pressing the Senate to replace the cabinet with an appointed administration.
Witnesses reported explosions and gunfire early on Thursday at a protest camp at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument
Later on Thursday, they forced a meeting between the government and the Election Commission to be abandoned.
The government is trying to organize a new general election in July, after protesters disrupted the previous election in parts of the country.
A crowd led by Suthep Thaugsuban, head of the anti-government movement, broke into the Air Force base where the meeting between acting PM Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan and the commission was being held.
“The meeting is over, the prime minister is leaving. We cannot continue today,” a member of the commission was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
The Election Commission on Thursday has called for polls to be postponed due to the political unrest, AFP news agency says, citing officials.
The attack on protesters comes days after former PM Yingluck Shinawatra was removed by a Thai court.
Reports said grenades were thrown in the latest attack in the early hours of Thursday, followed by gunfire. A doctor at an emergency centre in Bangkok said the wounded had been hit by shrapnel.
Police identified two of the victims as a protester who was asleep and a protest guard who was shot.
There have been a number of attacks on the protest movement since it began its street campaign against the government last year.
No group has said it carried out the attack but both pro- and anti-government groups are known to have armed hardliners.
Thailand’s general election has been disrupted by protests with voting being halted in parts of Bangkok and the south, but officials say that 89% of polling stations operated normally.
Some six million registered voters were affected by the closures, the Election Commission said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called the vote to head off weeks of mass protests.
Her party is widely expected to win but legal challenges and a lack of a quorum of MPs may create a political limbo.
Security has been heavy throughout Thailand, with vast areas under a state of emergency.
“The situation overall is calm and we haven’t received any reports of violence this morning,” National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabutr told Reuters.
Security officials said about 130,000 personnel had been deployed across Thailand on Sunday, including 12,000 in Bangkok.
Thailand’s general election has been disrupted by protests with voting being halted in parts of Bangkok and the south
There has been little campaigning for the election and it was unclear how many Thais had turned out.
Yingluck Shinawatra, who won the last election in 2011, voted soon after polls opened near her Bangkok home.
Protests prevented voting from taking place in 438 of Bangkok’s 6,671 polling stations, and there was no voting at all in nine southern provinces.
The government said there was no disruption in the north and north-east of the country.
Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party has overwhelming support in these regions, while the south and parts of the capital are strongholds of the opposition Democrat Party, which is boycotting the election.
Demonstrators blocked access to voters at some polling stations in the capital and prevented ballot papers reaching those polling stations.
Some voters expressed frustration when they found their local polling stations blocked.
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In his address to the nation on his birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has urged people to support each other for the sake of the country.
Thailand is marking the 86th birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej amid a truce after days of violent protests in Bangkok.
Speaking at his palace in the coastal resort of Hua Hin, King Bhumibol Adulyadej said that Thailand had been peaceful because of the unity of the people.
There were violent clashes earlier in the week between police and protesters.
The demonstrators, who are demanding that the current government resign, began protesting on November 24.
They agreed to stop their attacks on government buildings for the birthday celebrations, but have said they will be back right after them.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has urged people to support each other for the sake of the country
On Thursday, thousands of people had headed to the town of Hua Hin, near the king’s Klai Kangwon palace, in the hope of seeing him, the Bangkok Post reports.
Special bus and train services had been laid on by the transport ministry to bring people to the town, the paper says.
The kings traditionally deliver a speech to the nation on his birthday – an audience keenly anticipated for any hints of his thinking on events in Thailand.
He called on people to do their duty to support each other for the sake of the country.
“All Thais should realize this point a lot and behave and perform our duties accordingly, our duty for the sake of the public, for stability, security for our nation of Thailand,” the king said.
The current wave of protests began in Bangkok relatively peacefully, but things took a violent turn over the weekend and on Monday.
Protesters tried to topple police barricades and storm the prime minister’s office, Government House. Clashes broke as police used tear gas and water cannon to repel them.
The situation calmed down on Tuesday after security forces stepped back from protesters.
Some anti-government protesters headed to the police headquarters in Bangkok on Wednesday. A few hundred of the protesters were allowed inside the compound by the police and then withdrew.
The protesters say there is more to come.
“After the king’s birthday, we will start fighting again until we achieve our goal,” former deputy prime minister and protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban told AFP on Tuesday.
The protesters want the current government under PM Yingluck Shinawatra to step down and be replaced by an unelected “People’s Council”.
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