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6,500 Police Taskforce Mobilized to Secure Pope Francis’s Visit

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Thailand’s Royal Thai Police Office has opened a command center to handle security during the visit of Pope Francis. The Police chief has assigned a 6,500 police task force during his visit.

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive at the Military Air Terminal 2 in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Pol Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police, said the security command would operate around the clock. Ensuring the security during the official visit of Pope Francis.

He assured the police were completely ready to guarantee security for Pope Francis. About 6,500 police officers in Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom province were mobilized for the security service.

People would be checked before entering the venues of events related to the visit, Pol Gen Suwat said. Intelligence showed no signs of trouble but the police would maintain tight security preparedness, he said.

Road Traffic to be Diverted

The Metropolitan Police Bureau, said road traffic would be closed on two occasions. The first one concerned Pope Francis’s arrival at 12.30pm-1pm on Nov 20 and his departure from 8.30am to 9am on Nov 23. The route is from Wing 6 in Don Muang district through the Don Muang tollway; the Din Daeng expressway and Rama IV Road to Sathon Road.

The second traffic closure is set on Nov 21 and 22 when Pope Francis will visit eight locations. One will be in Nakhon Pathom and seven others in Bangkok: Government House, Saint Louis Hospital, Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall. Wat Ratchabophit, National Stadium, Chulalongkorn University, and Assumption Cathedral.

Most routes to the venues were in inner city areas and motorists should avoid Rama I, Phaya Thai and Banthadthong roads that surrounded the National Stadium where about 50,000 people would gather, Pol Maj Gen Jirasant said.

During his stay, the Pope is scheduled to meet Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha. He will also lead two fully-booked Holy Masses.
Pope Francis will become the second pontiff to visit Thailand. A country which is a largely Buddhist nation and whose Catholics represent only 0.58 percent of its population.
Following his two-day visit, the Pope will fly to Japan where he will stay from November 23 to 26.