Anti-government protester leader shot to death in Thailand

Thai anti-government protesters shut down a polling station at the Srieam Anusorn school in Bangkok on January 26, 2014.

Story highlights

  • Police: Anti-government protesters had blocked a voting station and shut it down
  • They encountered government supporters and exchanged verbal assaults
  • It's unclear who killed protest leader Suthin Thararin, police said
  • Protesters have been calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down

An anti-government protest leader was shot to death Sunday as demonstrators blocked a voting station in Bangkok, police said.

Suthin Thararin, a protest leader for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), was killed in front of Sri Eiam Temple in the Thai capital, Police Col. Thawatkiat Jindakuansanong said.

Nine others were injured in the shooting, medical officials said.

Protesters have been calling for the democratically elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. They want to replace her administration with an unelected "people council," which would see through electoral and political changes.

After a series of recent outbreaks of violence, Thai authorities declared a state of emergency last week, giving extra powers to security forces.

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On Friday, a Thai court ruled that elections scheduled for next month could be postponed.

Thararin's death came after anti-government protesters blocked a voting station and shut it down after officials agreed to suspend the voting, police said.

While the protesters were coming out of the area, there were several rounds of gunshots, police said..

Jindakuansanong could not confirm the identity of the shooter or shooters, but said anti-government protesters encountered pro-government supporters, and the two sides exchanged verbal assaults.

Meanwhile, more than 45 out 50 polling stations have been closed due to obstructions by opposition protesters from the PDRC, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong Tovijakchaikul said.

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