February 02, 2014 00:00 By The Nation 12,126 Viewed
The clash of anti-government protesters and pro-election people in Bangkok on Saturday became international news headlines.
At least seven people were injured in daylight gun battle between protesters seeking to block the distribution of ballots in Bangkok and would-be voters demanding that protesters cease their attempts to obstruct national elections on Sunday.
Under the headlines "Gun Battle in Bangkok Escalates Election Protest", New York Times said "Ignoring pleas by the United States and the European Union to respect the democratic process — and stoking the anger of many Thais eager to vote - the protesters have blocked the distribution of ballots in parts of Bangkok and southern Thailand, a stronghold of the opposition." It also quoted James Nachtwey, an American photojournalist who suffered a minor gunshot wound to his leg during Saturday’s clashes, as saying that shooting was coming from both sides. (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/world/asia/gun-battle-in-bangkok-escalates-election-protest.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=0)
Larry Jagan, Al Jazeera's freelance correspondent and political analyst based in Bangkok, wrote an opinion piece titled "Thailand's democracy under siege", saying "Thailand's democracy is at a crossroads, as Thais go to the polls on February 2 with much resting on the outcome. These elections are critical to the country's political future, even though they will not immediately resolve the current crisis."
In BBC News, "The shots were fired as demonstrators blockaded a building where ballot papers are being stored, in an attempt to prevent their distribution. Protesters want the government replaced by an unelected "people's council"." BBC News' correspondent in Bangkok, John Sudworth, said The violence was intense and, although localised, it gives a glimpse of the potential for this election to descend into chaos.(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25997318)
In Washington Post, "The exchange of fire was the latest flare-up in a monthslong struggle by protesters to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s beleaguered government, which they accuse of corruption. The turmoil raises the prospect of more violence Sunday, when polls open for an electoral contest that has devolved into a battle of wills between the government and protesters - and those caught in between who insist on their right to vote." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/fear-of-violence-grips-thai-capital-on-eve-of-vote/2014/02/01/13e6186e-8b14-11e3-a760-a86415d0944d_story.html)
Under the headlines "Gunmen open fire in protests ahead of Thailand's national election", CNN said "The lasting political instability has created fears of chaos in Thailand, which was shaken by severe bout of violence four years ago. The concerns have already hurt the country's lucrative tourist industry and undermined investment in one of Southeast Asia's main economies." (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/01/world/asia/thailand-gunfire/)