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Thai protest leader killed during rallies to curb early elections

Published time: January 26, 2014 12:54
Edited time: January 26, 2014 15:04

Thai anti-government protesters gather outside a polling station in a bid to prevent people from voting in Narathiwat, southern Thailand on January 26, 2014 (AFP Photo / Madaree Tohlala)

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An anti-government protest leader was shot dead in the Thai capital, where demonstrators have blocked most of the polling stations, preventing people from taking part in early voting ahead of the February-2 elections.

The protest leader, identified by police as Suthin Taratin, was killed in a stand-off with police, which erupted at a polling station blocked by demonstrators.

"Suthin Taratin was shot in the head while giving a speech from a pick-up truck," Akanat Promphan, the protest movement's spokesman told a televised press conference, Cannel News Asia reports.

At least eleven other people were reportedly injured during the same confrontation.

All over Bangkok protesters waving Thai flags blocked entrances to polling stations. Some demonstrators used trucks for the purpose. 48 out of 50 polling stations in Bangkok were obstructed this way, AP reported. Advance voting was disrupted in 10 of Thailand's 76 provinces, according to the deputy prime minister, cited by Reuters.

"Protesters blocked voters. In many areas of Bangkok protesters used force to prevent people from voting," Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, also the deputy prime minister, said in a televised address. "This is a very serious offence indeed."

Thai anti-government protesters parade to surrounded polling station during a rally in Bangkok on January 26, 2014 (AFP Photo)

The early voting is for those unable to take part in next week’s elections, which were scheduled last December by

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, following weeks-long protests, which forced her to dissolve parliament.

The protesters in Bangkok have, however, not been mollified by the prospect of early elections. They have kept on rallying for the PM’s ouster and the setting up of a non-elected “people’s council”, which would reform the country’s political system before a new vote can take place.

Anti-government protesters have accused Yingluck of being the puppet of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, an exiled tycoon and the country’s former prime minister ousted after a 2006 coup. Both sister and brother have been blamed for subverting democracy with populist policies that buy them the support of poorer rural voters.

The Thai Election Commission has already called for a delay to next week’s elections. There are concerns that massive and violent protests could grip Bangkok once again.

The death of Suthin Taratin brings to 10 the overall death toll in the Thai protests, which started in November 2013.

The violence has been intensifying as the elections draw nearer. A state of emergency was introduced on Wednesday.

Thai anti-government protesters hold national flags as they parade to surrounded polling stations during a rally in Bangkok on January 26, 2014 (AFP Photo)

Comments (6)

 

DB Cooper 27.01.2014 17:28

Land of a thousand smiles :) BDS!

 

Vince 27.01.2014 13:56

Re 26.01.2014 17:01

The Democratic party intimidating voters and blocking people from voting. Only in Thailand.

  


There was no good reason for the gov't supporters to shoot and kill the protesters though. They also shot and threw bombs at unarmed proresters at the rallies.

 

Yazen 27.01.2014 11:27

Thailand right now is the land with no laws, the whole police forces are bought and paid by Thaksin, many of these police officers have disguised themselves as black shirt snipers who shot and killed the peaceful protesters and got away with their crimes. In the meantime Thaksin who lives in Dubai has organised, funded and armed terrorist groups across the country to sustain and protect his sister's government. These protesters are unarmed and based on non-violent civil disobedience who want to get rid of corrupted and abusive government; a government who won election from vote buying and electoral fraud. From Bangkok

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