Deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) Jirasan Kaewsawng-ek said road closures in Bangkok will be limited during the papal visit, but advised motorists to avoid routes where Pope Francis will travel.
The Don Muang Tollway will be closed from 12-1 p.m on November 20 as he travels from Bangkok Military Air Terminal 2 to the Apostolic Nunciature, or the Holy See’s embassy, on Sathon Road. The same route will be closed from 8-9 a.m on November 23 when he moves to the airport.
The Pope’s trip marks the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, the first Catholic Church in the country.
As scheduled, he will meet with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, government officials, diplomats, representatives of civil organisations at the Government House and the Buddhist Supreme Patriarch at Wat Rachabophit, and visit patients and people with disabilities at St. Louis Hospital on Sathorn Road. He will also meet the King at the Royal Palace, and celebrate Holy Mass at the National Stadium on Rama I Road.
According to the MPB deputy chief, security authorities rehearsed security and safety drills on November 16, and all went well.
Earlier, in a message sent to the Thai people ahead of his visit, Pope Francis hailed Thailand’s contributions to promoting harmony and peaceful coexistence, describing the nation as an inspiration for global peace and harmony.
With 388,000 followers, the Catholic community makes up less than 1 percent of the Thai population. The majority reside in the north, and have increasing influence in the country.