One Thai protest leader shot dead, advance polling blocked

Last Updated: Monday, January 27, 2014 - 00:46

Bangkok: An anti-government protest leader
was shot dead on Sunday as demonstrators created chaos in the Thai
capital blocking several polling centres to bar people from
casting their advance vote, raising doubts over the fate of
the February 2 snap elections.

Sutin Taratin, the leader of anti-government `People`s
Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime` was leading a mob to
block an advance polling station at Wat Sri-iam Temple
compound in Bang Na district when he was shot at the head.

Police have not yet identified the shooter. The shooting
happened as Sutin and protesters were confronted by
pro-government red-shirt supporters at the temple.
Nine others were injured and rushed to hospitals nearby,
reports here said.

Advance polling was held today for those who cannot vote
on February 2. However, most polling stations were blocked by
the opposition-backed protesters who wants the polls scrapped,
the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government to quit and an
un-elected People`s Council to be set up.

About 2.16 million of the total 49 million eligible
voters have applied for advanced voting before the February 2
election, which was called Yingluck to try to defuse rising
political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government
protests.
Protesters descended on scores of polling stations in the
Thai capital and several southern provinces, stopping ballot
officials from entering and prompting election authorities to
shut at least 45 venues.

"Forty-five polling stations had to be closed out of 50
in Bangkok," said deputy prime minister Surapong
Tovichakchaikul.

Election Commission secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong
earlier confirmed mass polling station closures after
officials "could not go inside because of the protesters".

He said the advance voting in the north, the northeast
and the central of the country started and continued without
problems while those in Bangkok and the south were blocked.

These two areas are strongholds of the opposition
Democrat Party which has been holding protest marches for over
two months in the capital calling for Prime Minister to step
down.

The protesters want to make way for an un-elected
"People`s Council" to carry reforms before any polls. They
want Yingluck and her brother former premier Thaksin
Shinawatra out of Thai politics. Thaksin was overthrown in a
coup in 2006 and is in self-exile in Dubai.

PTI

First Published: Monday, January 27, 2014 - 00:46

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