Thai Protest Leader Killed amid Poll Tensions

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - An anti-government protest leader has been killed and 11 people wounded amid a siege of polling stations in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, by demonstrators seeking to disrupt advance voting for next weekend's controversial general election.

Thai Protest Leader Killed amid Poll Tensions

The death occurred on Sunday, when anti-government demonstrators surrounded dozens of polling stations in Bangkok and several southern provinces to stop advance voting for next week's vote, chaining gates shut, threatening voters and preventing hundreds of thousands of people from casting ballots.

The February 2 election was called by Yingluck Shinawatra, the prime minister, to try to calm rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests, Al Jazeera reported.

As the disrupted polls closed on Sunday afternoon, Suthin Tharathin - a leader of the Dharma Army, a Buddhist organisation which has been prominent in the anti-government demonstrations - was shot as he stood on the back of a pick-up vehicle in the Bangkok suburb of Bang Na.

Nine other people were injured in the shooting, according to Bangkok's Erawan emergency centre.

Akanat Promphan, a protest spokesman, accused a "pro-government mob" of carrying out the attack which killed Suthin.

Police later said he died when a group of Red Shirts - government-supporting activists - from a neighbouring province a few kilometres away clashed with protesters.

Sunday's incidents proved that demonstrators struggling to overthrow Yingluck have the ability to disrupt the general election, and the country's electoral commission is unlikely to stand in their way.

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