Thailand Fight to Delay Polls Turns Deadly
Police officer killed, nearly 100 injured as tensions flare anew
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 26, 2013 6:06 AM CST
Thai riot police fire rubber bullets at anti-government protesters during a rally at the Labor Ministry in Bangkok, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
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(Newser) – Thailand's election commission today urged the government to delay upcoming polls as clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters killed a police officer and injured nearly 100 people, adding to political turmoil threatening to tear apart the country. The hours-long unrest took place outside a Bangkok sports stadium where election candidates were gathering to draw lots for their positions on the ballot. Protesters threw rocks as they tried to break into the building to halt the process, while police fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

Four election commissioners left the stadium in a helicopter to escape the violence—some of the fiercest since a long-running dispute between Thailand's bitterly divided political factions flared anew two months ago. Protesters seeking to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra are demanding that the Feb. 2 elections be delayed until she leaves office and reforms are implemented, and have vowed to disrupt the polls if they go ahead. Yingluck has insisted that the elections should go ahead, in the knowledge that her party is likely to win. Election commission head Somchai Srisutthiyakorn denied the body was "involving itself in politics" by urging a delay in the polls. "We have good intentions and want to see peace in this country," he told reporters.

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