Thai protest leader shot dead

BANGKOK - A Thai anti-government protest leader was shot dead on Sunday as demonstrators besieged polling stations in Bangkok, disrupting advance voting for next weekend's controversial general election.

More than two million people are registered for early voting before the Feb 2 election, which was called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to try to calm rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests, AFP reported.

Protesters descended on scores of polling stations in the Thai capital and several southern provinces, stopping ballot officials from entering and prompting election authorities to shut at least 45 venues.

As the disrupted polls closed on Sunday afternoon, a leader of the anti-government rallies, Mr Suthin Tharathin, was gunned down while giving a speech from the back of a pick-up truck in the Bangkok suburb of Bang Na.

Nine other people were injured in the shooting, said the city's Erawan emergency centre.


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