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December 22, 2013

Thai Protesters Block Election Registration

by VOA News

Thousands of anti-government protesters in Thailand blocked access to an election registration center in Bangkok Monday in an effort to prevent parties from registering for an upcoming general election.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban vowed on Sunday to disrupt the February 2 election. He began by mobilizing protesters to blockade the Thai-Japanese Stadium, where registrations are scheduled to run from Monday through Friday.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament on December 9 and called the snap election to try to end mass street protests sparked by the attempted passage of an amnesty bill that many saw as an attempt to bring ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra back to Thailand without having to serve a sentence for corruption. Yingluck says after the election, a national reform council would be set up to work towards widespread reforms, but protesters say they want reforms before polling begins.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters brought central Bangkok to a halt Sunday. Street protesters have been demanding for weeks that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck step down before the elections.

The main opposition Democrat Party has announced a boycott of elections until reforms are implemented.