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1 Dead in Thailand Protest Shooting, While Demonstrators Disrupt Election Registration

Officials in Thailand say one person was killed and three wounded early Saturday in Bangkok when at least one gunman fired into a group of anti-government protesters, while elsewhere, protesters continued to block candidates from registering for upcoming elections.

Some witnesses say the shots came from a passing car, firing into a group of protesters camped overnight near Government House. Police have not identified the attackers.

Elsewhere, demonstrators besieged a number of candidate registration places, forcing election officials to suspend the process in several provinces.

In another development, when asked by reporters Friday whether the military would stage a coup, Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocah said "The door to a coup is neither open nor closed." Prayuth also repeated a request that people stop asking the army to take sides in the bitter dispute.



The comment was made a day after clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok left one police officer dead and dozens wounded.

In a televised address Thursday, the country's caretaker deputy prime minister, Pongthep Thepkanjana, rejected a request from the election commission to postpone a February vote and said the general election would go ahead as planned.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called for the early vote as a way to end the political crisis. Protesters want the prime minister's removal, saying it is necessary to purge the country of corruption and money politics.

They view Ms. Yingluck as a puppet of her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Weeks of protests have forced Ms. Yingluck to call for early elections and dissolve parliament, but she has refused to resign.

The main opposition Democrat Party has said it will boycott the election, which the prime minister's Pheu Thai Party was already predicted to win.

Former prime minister Thaksin, a billionaire businessman, was ousted in a 2006 military coup. He lives in self-imposed exile overseas after being convicted of corruption.

Ms. Yingluck and her brother have the support of Thailand's rural poor, largely because of Mr. Thaksin's policies to bring virtually free health care, cheap loans and other benefits to the long-neglected countryside. But they are disliked by the urban middle class and more educated elite.

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