What these government-controlled TV stations did not show was another, huge crowd of well-wishers, many of them attired in yellow shirts with whistles hung around their necks, at the Democracy Monument, which is just a short distance away from Sanam Luang.
The entire Ratchadamnoen Avenue and its alleys were jam-packed with a sea of yellow – the symbolic colour of the King – a crowd estimated at several tens of thousands.
These well-wishers intentionally chose to remain with the protesters for the celebration rather than walking a short distance to Sanam Luang, the traditional site of the candlelight ceremony, to join the government in the celebration of their beloved King.
The government complex at Chaeng Wattana, which has been occupied by the protesters, was also reported to be jam-packed.
The protesters' celebration and entertainment was also broadcast live, but only by the Democrat Party's Bluesky satellite channel.
The phenomenal turnout at the Democracy Monument and the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road should serve as a no-nonsense reminder to the government, especially to Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, the new director of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo), not to underestimate the strength of the people -- and to think twice before resorting to tough action against the protesters and others perceived as the government’s opponents.
Mr Surapong was quick to capitalise on the King’s birthday message about national peace and unity. He said on Thursday after chairing a meeting of Capo later in the day that he would heed the King’s message to try to restore peace in the country.
And so, the first few acts of this peace mission were to order the police and the Department of Special Investigation to issue warrants for the arrest of Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra for providing water and mobile toilets to the protesters, and for the management of Bluesky TV for allegedly supporting the insurrection by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat Party MP.
As for the protesters, Mr Surapong said no violence would be used against them, but they would be asked to go home.
While chanting the peace mantra, it was reported that the government had allocated the Royal Thai Police Office a special 10 million baht fund to buy more teargas to be used against the protesters – this time a stronger form of teargas.
What Mr Surapong failed - whether by design or unintentionally – to mention about the King’s message was that the King did not just talk about peace and stability. The gist of the speech was that he urged the Thai people to do their jobs properly, to fulfill the duties required of them, for the sake of peace and stability.
My question for Mr Surapong, his Pheu Thai Party and the government is - Have they performed their duties properly?” Their foremost duty is to serve the people first, not someone in self-imposed exile.
And if they had done their duty properly in the first place, there would not be the political crisis we have seen today.
Mr Surapong insisted that the action to be taken against the Bangkok governor and the management of Bluesky TV were not provocative. I beg to differ, Mr Surapong. They are a recipe for more trouble.