The AP reports:
Thailand’s election commission on Thursday 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.
Elsewhere, the WSJ’s Southeast Asia Real Time has a Q&A with Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua:
WSJ: Both the Red Shirts and Mr. Suthep’s People’s Democratic Reform Committee claim to command mass support. Can the two sides avoid a conflict?
Mr. Nattawut: I will try my best to prevent a confrontation and protect a rules-based system. I think the Feb. 2 election could be the answer and help prevent conflict. But if Mr. Suthep prevents the election going ahead and succeeds in setting up a people’s assembly, it will be the last straw. It will drive our side onto the streets. We are always ready to talk with Mr. Suthep’s supporters, though. Our demands are for elections under the democratic system, but Mr. Suthep’s are not. If we can achieve that, then each person will get one vote. On the other hand, if Mr. Suthep succeeds, then nobody will have a vote because he took them all. Mr. Suthep’s victory would not be the people’s victory, but our victory is the real people’s victory because everybody will have the same rights and freedoms as everybody else.
Meanwhile, there’s this:
Army Chief Gen Prayuth to hold a press conference tomorrow at 1pm; he's expected to announce military's stance in political deadlock
— Chadaporn Lin (@ChadapornLin) December 26, 2013
As ever, stay tuned.
- Thailand update: We’ve reached a stalemate
- Thailand protests update: a few links to share
- Thailand update: Democrats quit parliament, protesters to march tomorrow (Monday)
- Thailand update: Yingluck won’t quit, details from Suthep, more drone journalism
- Thailand update: Suthep calls for more rallies; still no word on Democrats’ election participation