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Thai protest leader killed at anti-poll rally

STREET UNREST: An official continued to pack election materials at a polling station in Bangkok after anti-government protesters besieged the stations and forced most to close yesterday, obstructing advance voting for an election to be held next week.


    Jan 27, 2014

    Thai protest leader killed at anti-poll rally


    A THAI anti-government protest leader was shot dead yesterday and several other people were injured as demonstrators blocked advance voting for a controversial general election.

    "Suthin Tharathin was shot in the head while giving a speech from the back of a pick-up truck," protest spokesman Akanat Promphan said.

    "The government has failed to provide any safety and security for anybody today, despite the emergency decree," he said, referring to a government order empowering police to control protests.

    Bangkok's Erawan emergency centre confirmed that one man had been killed and nine injured in the shooting in the city suburbs, without giving further details.

    Hundreds of protesters earlier yesterday besieged polling stations in Bangkok and forced most to close, obstructing advance voting for next weekend's election and deepening doubts about whether it can go ahead.

    The embattled government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called the election for Sunday to try to calm months of street protests.

    Demonstrators trying to topple her government fiercely oppose the snap election.

    Mr Suthin was the 10th person to be killed during nearly three months of rallies that have sparked international concern and investor fears over the country's economy.

    Hundreds more have been wounded.

    Each side in the bitterly divided kingdom blames the other for the violence.

    Thailand's recent history has been scarred by sporadic street unrest since former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck's brother, was ousted in a military coup in 2006.