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Police get tough as EC ballot draw completed (Updated)

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Police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and high pressure water cannon against protesters who unsuccessfully tried to prevent the drawing of ballot numbers this morning at the Thai-Japanese sports stadium. The day of violence ended with at least one dead and 96injured. 

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Police have used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon against anti-government protesters as they try to break into the Thai-Japanese sports stadium on Dec 26, 2013, Thursday. (Photos by Taweechai Tawatpakorn)

20:30

Police retreat and then advance, a pattern repeated several times during the day. NATTAPOL LOVAKIJ

A car stands badly damaged after police overran the area outside the Thai-Japanese sports complex. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Detained protesters were quickly taken by helicopter to Region one police headquarters. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

The casualty number late this afternoon stood at one dead, a policeman, and 96 injured. The injured included 25 police. There were gunshot wounds on both sides and it is not clear who did the shooting.

Police and protesters alternated advances and retreats. For a time, police were forced back deep into the Thai-Japanese sports complex only to surge out later, smashing motorcycles and vehicles on the streets outside.

Perhaps the most significant event of the day, however, was a unanimous  statement by the five election commissioners that the election should be postponed. The violence was likely to continue they said

A statement released to the media said that if no action was taken to resolve and improve the situation, the EC would consider exercising the rights of individual commissioners to make a decision to resolve the situation as deemed appropriate, the statement said.

More tomorrow

17:40

Protesters outside the Thai-Japanese sports stadium now have their own improvised shield and tear gas weapons. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH

The policeman reported earlier to be in a critical condition has now died. In addition the number of injuries on the police side is reported to be 25. The situation is very tense as a number of protesters are being held by police and a short time ago, police forced protesters to retreat away from the Thai-Japanese stadium, causing considerable damage to motorcycles and other vehicles, angering their owners and other protesters. A Channel 3 reporter said no rally leaders were there, increasing the possibility of violence.

The leaders had gone to Viphavadee Road near the Army Club and had blocked incoming and outgoing traffic in an effort to force the release of the protesters held by police. This caused heavy traffic congestion, but several minutes ago they left to go back to their base near Government House where shots had been reported to have been fired.

15:20

Many more injuries are being reported. At last count, the Erawan Centre said 54 protesters had been injured and at least six policeman, one of who was in critical condition with gunshot wounds. Police spokesmen at the the Centre for the Administration of Peace have said a third party, intent on causing violence, is likely involved.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission, in a press conference, is urging the government to consider postponing the election, citing the continuing violence.

12:25

The only way out for election commissioners and the election documents this morning was by helicopter. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Thai PBS reports that most of the protesters have now left the Din Daeng area, site of the Thai-Japanese sports stadium. This was partly prompted by rumours that their main rally site next to Government House was about to be attacked by police, a rumour they later found out to be false. Rally leaders are now trying to arrange transport for the protesters who remain in the Din Daeng area..

The conflict continued almost until noon despite the fact that the ballot draw had long finished. Election Commission officials began work at 4am and party representives arrived about an hour later, well before the main group of protesters arrived. The four election commissioners left by helicopter at about 10am, but there is still a group of EC workers inside as well as party representatives and reporters who have been unable to leave.

The Erawan Centre says seven protesters have been hospitalised for their injuries. At least three policemen were also reported to be inured and Maj Gen Piya Uthayo, spokesman for the Centre for the Administration of Peace, says they have had difficulties getting them out for treatment. Both sides are accusing each other of using real bullets during the clashes.

Police get tough as EC ballot draw completed

Police have used their full arsenal of anti-riot weapons this morning to prevent an invasion of the Thai-Japanese sports stadium by anti-government protesters intent on disrupting the drawing of ballot numbers used by political parties during their election campaign.

Unlike previous days, today, police have acted forcefully to prevent protesters from breaking into the Thai-Japanese sports stadium compound.

Representatives of political parties arrived very early this morning to enter the building before hostilities broke out.

Protesters under the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) started marching to the stadium in the Din Daeng area at 6am.

Just before 8am, police unleashed a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets as protesters from the Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand (NSPRT) tried to break into the stadium, cutting chain that locked the gate entrances.  High pressure water cannon was also used, spraying water mixed with a purple dye, similar that used in confrontations near Government House earlier in the month.

A protester tried to cut the fence outside the Thai-Japanese sports stadium. Police responded with a barrage of tear gas and rubber bullets.

As of 10am this morning, the confrontation was still continuing, but the ballot draw did take place as scheduled. Altogether, 30 political parties succeeded in getting their numbers.

Meanwhile, many injuries have been reported among the protesters from tear gas canisters and rubber bullets. One policeman was reported shot in the arm, but it is not clear if this was from a bullet or another type of projectile.

An injured protested is treated by volunteer medical staff.

Protesters have accused police of firing tear canisters horizontally instead of in an arc, increasing the severity of the injuries suffered. But caretaker foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, head of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo) said the police had acted to defend the Election Commission' s proceedings and all actions adhered to international standards.

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Vocabulary:

adhere to: to obey a rule, law, agreement, etc. - ทำตามกฎหมาย

advance: to move forward - ก้าวหน้า, เคลื่อนไปข้างหน้า

alternate: to happening or follow one after the other regularly สลับกัน - สลับกัน

arc: a curved shape - ความโค้ง

arsenal: a collection of military weapons or equipment - อาวุธจำนวนมาก คลังแสงสรรพาวุธ

ballot: the piece of paper on which someone marks who they are voting for - บัตรเลือกตั้ง

barrage: a large number or amount of something -

block: to stop someone/ something from moving through or along something else - ปิดกั้น, กีดขวาง

bullet: a small, metal object that is shot from a gun - กระสุนปืน

campaign: a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party - การรณรงค์หาเสียง

canister: a round metal container that is used to hold gases or chemical substances under pressure - กระป๋องสเปรย์

caretaker: in charge for a short time, until a new leader or government is chosen - รักษาการ

casualty: victim; someone/ something that has been harmed, injured or killed as the result of a bad event such as a disaster or crime (casualties: the number of dead or injured) - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย; จำนวนคนตายหรือได้รับบาดเจ็บ

chain: a series of connected metal rings, used for pulling or fastening things; a length of chain used for a particular purpose - โซ่

clash: a fight between groups of people - การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย

compound: an area in which a group of buildings stands - บริเวณ

conflict: angry disagreement between people or groups - การต่อสู้, ความขัดแย้ง

confrontation: a situation in which people or groups are arguing angrily or are fighting - การเผชิญหน้า

congestion: a situation in which a place is crowded with people or vehicles - แน่นขนัดไปด้วยรถหรือคน

consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา

considerable: large in size, amount, or degree - ค่อนข้างมาก

critical condition: very seriously ill or injured and might die - อาการหนัก

deemed: considered - เห็นว่า ถือว่า

defend: to prevent something from failing, stopping, or being taken away - ปกป้อง, ป้องกัน

detained: kept in a place and not allowed to leave - กักตัว ควบคุมตัวหรือฝากขัง

disrupt: to interrupt something and prevent it from continuing by creating a problem - ได้รับการกระทบกระเทือน  ถูกทำให้หยุดชะงัก

draw: a way of choosing something such as a name or number by chance - การจับฉลาก

dye: a special liquid to change the colour of something - สารย้อมสี

Election Commission: the independent government agency that oversees elections - คณะกรรมการเลือกตั้ง

exercise: to use your power or rights - ใช้อำนาจ

horizontally: going across and parallel to the ground rather than going up and down - ตามแนวนอน

hospitalise: to send somebody to a hospital for treatment - ให้อยู่โรงพยาบาล

hostilities: acts of fighting - การใช้ความรุนแรง

improve: to make better - ทำให้ดีขึ้น

injury: physical damage done to a person or a part of their body - อาการบาดเจ็บ

intent on: determined to do something, giving all your attention to something - ตั้งใจ

invasion: a situation in which a large number of people or things come to a place at the same time, especially in an annoying way - การบุกรุก

network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

pattern: a series of actions or events that together show how things normally happen or are done - แบบฉบับ, แบบแผน

postpone: to delay; to decide that something will be done at a later time - เลื่อนออกไป

press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว

proceedings: an event or a series of actions - กิจกรรมที่ดำเนินต่อเนื่องในระยะเวลาหนึ่ง

projectile: an object, such as a bullet, that is fired from a gun or other weapon; any object that is thrown as a weapon - วัตถุใด ๆ ที่ถูกขว้างหรือถูกยิงออกไป

prompted: caused - ก่อให้เกิด

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

release: allowing someone/something to go free - การปล่อย

reporter: someone whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว

representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน

resolve: to solve a problem, or to find a satisfactory way of dealing with it - แก้ไขปัญหา

retreat: to move back or away - ถอยกลับ

riot: a violent protest by a group of people - ความไม่สงบ การจลาจล

rumour: a piece of information, or a story, that people talk about, but that may not be true - ข่าวลือ

scheduled: planned to happen at a particular time or day - ตามตารางเวลา

severity: seriousness - ความรุนแรง

site: a place where something is located - สถานที่

standards: rules for behaving which should be obeyed - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ

surge: to move quickly and with force in a particular direction -

tear gas: a gas used by some police and armed forces to control crowds of people. It hurts the eyes and makes them produce tears - ก๊าซน้ำตา

tense: making you feel nervous or worried - ทำให้เครียด

treatment: the process of providing medical care - การรักษา

unanimous: agreed by everyone - เป็นเอกฉันท์

unleash: to release suddenly a strong, uncontrollable and usually destructive force - ปล่อย, ก่อให้เกิดผลรุนแรง

volunteer: someone who is not paid for the work that they do - อาสาสมัคร

water cannon: a machine that produces a powerful flow of water, used by the police to control crowds of people -

wound: an injury in which your skin or flesh is damaged - บาดแผล

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