Cops ready security for Pope Francis
City police are gearing up to facilitate traffic and provide security during Pope Francis's visit which begins tomorrow, according to deputy chief of city police Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek.
The deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) said road closures in Bangkok will be limited during the papal visit, which lasts until Saturday, but advised motorists to avoid routes where Pope Francis will travel.
On Wednesday, upon his arrival, the Don Muang Tollway will be closed from 12-1pm as he travels from Bangkok's Military Air Terminal 2 to the Apostolic Nunciature, or the Holy See's embassy on Sathon Road.
The same route will be closed from 8am-9am on Saturday when he departs for Japan.
On Thursday, Pope Francis will visit Government House, Wat Ratchabophit in Phra Nakhon district, St Louis Hospital on Sathon Road, Ambara Villa in Dusit Palace where he will have an audience with His Majesty the King, and the National Stadium on Rama I Road where he will celebrate Holy Mass.
Some 40,000 people are expected to line Rama I, Phaya Thai and Banthat Thong roads to welcome the pope, Pol Maj Gen Jirasan said, adding that well-wishers are advised to use public transport.
On the third day of his visit, the pope will travel to Nakhon Pathom in the morning before returning Bangkok where he will head to Chulalongkorn University to meet leaders of other Christian denominations and religions before later visiting the Cathedral of the Assumption in Bang Rak district where a second Mass will be held.
Pol Maj Gen Jirasan said security for the pope is being handled by the MPB Special Affairs Unit but noted that Special Branch and Crowd Control Division officers will also be deployed.
According to the MPB deputy chief, security authorities rehearsed security and safety drills on Saturday and all went well.