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Shots, blasts as protest rivals clash on Thai election eve

Published on Feb 1, 2014 6:21 PM
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Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags during a rally at China town in Bangkok, on Feb 1, 2014. Violence erupted in Bangkok Saturday, Feb 1, 2014, on the eve of tense Thai elections, as heavy gunfire and explosions broke out in clashes between pro and anti-government protesters, according to an AFP journalist. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP, REUTERS) - Violence erupted in Bangkok Saturday on the eve of tense Thai elections, as heavy gunfire and explosions broke out in clashes between pro and anti-government protesters, according to an AFP journalist.

Security personnel and journalists raced to take cover after a man pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began spraying bullets during a stand-off between government supporters and scores of opposition demonstrators, an AFP reporter at the scene said. The firing was ongoing.

Emergency workers said several people have been injured in the fighting, which broke out as anti-government groups laid siege to a ballot box distribution centre in the Thai capital.
“One victim was apparently shot in the chest and was hospitalised,” an official from the city’s Erawan emergency centre said.

The attack took place in Bangkok’s Laksi district, close to the Don Muang airport, a stronghold of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s Puea Thai Party. Her supporters had gathered to demand Sunday’s ballot is not obstructed.

Tensions are high in the capital ahead of controversial elections on Sunday, which opposition demonstrators have vowed to block as they seek to prevent the likely re-election of Ms Yingluck.

(More to come)

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