Protesters storm Thai-Japanese sports stadium, force election staff evacuation


BANGKOK, Dec 25 – Anti-government protesters intruded into the Thai-Japanese sports stadium in Din Daeng this morning, cordoning off the gymnasium, the venue for election candidacy registration forcing election staff to vacate the venue and suspend the registration process.

The Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand (NSPRT), a splinter group of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led its supporters into the Thai-Japanese sports stadium and then into the gymnasium.

Sitting in the entrances, they blocked access for elections personnel and used a huge national flag to encircle the building to prevent candidates from any political party to enter the building.

The NSPRT leaders said they did not intend to obstruct the February 2 general election but want reforms to be completed before the election.

The EC had prepared to begin the third day of the candidate registration this morning after PDRC protesters ended their rally at the stadium Tuesday evening.

But now, registrations that were to take place today–including a lots-drawing session for parties that registered on Monday–have been suspended.

Registration of party-list candidates was to be held from Monday through Friday but the first two days were interrupted by an anti-government rally at the registration venue inside the stadium.

Suthep Thaugsuban, PDRC secretary general, led protesters out of the Din Daeng registration venue, saying that their mission to show the disagreement to the election has accomplished.