Thai king appeals for stability after violent protests

Thai king appeals for stability after violent protests
Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej (L) and Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn (R) arrive in a van at Klai Kangwon Palace, Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, December 5, 2013.

BANGKOK - Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej urged the nation to work together for "stability" in a speech Thursday on his 86th birthday, marked by an easing of tensions after violent anti-government protests.

The kingdom remains on edge following several days of street clashes during demonstrations aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curbing the political influence of her brother Thaksin.

Demonstrators and police in Bangkok have been observing a temporary truce since Wednesday ahead of the birthday celebrations for King Bhumibol, who is treated as a near-deity by many Thais.

At a formal ceremony attended by dignitaries including the embattled premier, her political rivals and the nation's military heads, the king said the country "has been peaceful for a long time because everybody worked together".

"Every Thai should be aware of this and should perform their role for the benefit of the country, which is the stability and security of the country," he said in the speech broadcast on all television channels.

King Bhumibol, seen as a moral authority in the deeply divided nation, did not specifically mention the recent unrest.

The streets near his seaside palace were a sea of yellow Thursday as thousands of people wearing his signature colour turned out to celebrate in the central coastal town of Hua Hin, where he has lived since leaving hospital in August.

Kneeling supporters wept and shouted "Long live the King!" as the royal convoy made a brief tour of the town's streets before returning to the palace.

Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Yingluck both made speeches in praise of the monarch at the solemn birthday ceremony, the first to be held in Hua Hin.



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