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Thai protesters force closure of 19 polling stations

world Updated: Jan 26, 2014 10:45 IST
Election Commission

Anti-government protesters forced the closure of 19 out of 50 polling stations in Bangkok Sunday after besieging buildings and blocking officials from entering to hold advance voting, Thailand's Election Commission said.

"Nineteen poll stations reported closed out of 50 in Bangkok", Puchong Nutrawong secretary general of the Election Commission, told AFP.

"Election officials at the poll stations could not go inside because of the protesters," he said, adding it was unclear how they will tally those advance votes not yet cast ahead of the scheduled election next Sunday.

Over two million people are registered for the advance vote ahead of the February 2 election, which was called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in an attempt to defuse rising political tensions after weeks of mass anti-government protests.

Advance voting is being held for those who are unable to take part in next Sunday's polls and is routine, although this time it is being seen as a litmus test for the possibility of holding the vote without violence.

Demonstrators, who have staged a near two-week so-called "shutdown" of Bangkok in an effort to derail the vote, have rejected the election and vowed to congregate around polling stations.