Thai parties sign up for polls despite blockades

Thai parties sign up for polls despite blockades
Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags as they march through the streets of Bangkok.

BANGKOK - Thai political parties signed up for the Feb 2 General Election even as anti-government protesters attempted to thwart them at every turn.

The impasse is expected to harden in the coming days as the protesters vow to disrupt the snap polls and force caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign.

Ms Yingluck's Puea Thai party was one of nine parties which managed to register despite a blockade of the registration venue by protesters, who spent the night on the pavements outside after closing down major intersections in Bangkok on Sunday.

Another 25 parties could not enter the registration centre in the morning and filed complaints with the police, the Election Commission said.

According to the Bangkok Post, the formal complaints would be used as part of the registration process.

Meanwhile, election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn did not rule out an extension of the deadline or a change of venue.

Yesterday, angry protesters marched to the police station where political parties were filing their complaints, surrounding the venue for hours as they chanted abuse at its occupants.

Later, they also invaded the Department of Special Investigation, a crime fighting agency which ordered banks to freeze the accounts of protest leaders last week.

The latest confrontation is part of an almost two-month campaign centred on eradicating the influence of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The tycoon, who is Ms Yingluck's older brother, lives in self-exile abroad to evade a jail term, but remains adored by many in the country's populous north-east.

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