Thailand Election Commission: postpone Feb election after violence: The Election Commission of Thailand is now urging the government to postpone the scheduled February 2 election following this morning’s violent clashes between protesters and police, saying if held the election would surely be one of “debris and blood,” according to reports.
In this morning’s clashes at the Thai-Japanese Stadium in the Din Daeng district of Bangkok, police used tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters who attempted to storm the stadium where preparations for the election were being held.
At least 48 protesters and three police officers were injured in the violence.
In addition, nearby residents slammed the use of tear gas, as children were injured in their homes by the gas, according to reports.
Residents were forced to close their doors and windows, and had to use fans to blow the tear gas out of their homes.
Several nearby schools were also forced to close because of the gas and the dangerous situation, reports said.
The Election Commission (EC) was able to complete the task of drawing lots for political party’s position on polling papers, in spite of the chaos going on outside the stadium.
The EC members left the stadium in a helicopter, but hours later issued a statement recommending the government postpone the election.
It said its recommendation stemmed from the violence that has broken out in the country.
“A failure to handle the situation could possibly lead to more violence and if the election is held as scheduled, that violence could escalate and result in chaos and casualties,” the statement said.
The EC also expressed regret about the violence on Thursday morning.
“The EC has earlier signalled its concerns of more violence in the country,” the statement said.
It said it wanted to express to the public its stance that it prefers the government postpone the election until the political conflict could be settled.
The EC also implied that if nothing is done to settle the conflicts, it might decide to take such actions as may be necessary and within its authority in order to settle the situation, said a report from The Nation News Agency.
The EC’s statement adds to the political uncertainty in the country.
The government, led by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, has been insisting the February election will go ahead as planned, and even says it would be unconstitutional to postpone it.
The protest movement is equally determined to see the election postponed, wanting political reforms in place before the next election. They have vowed to disrupt the elections if they are held in February.
The protesters are also trying to force Ms. Yingluck to resign.
This morning’s clashes were the first incidents of violence in over two weeks of daily protests in Bangkok.