Polls close in Thailand amid heavy security

The polls have closed after largely peaceful elections in Thailand, although there were reports of widespread disruption at polling stations with some voters being prevented from registering.

Polls close in largely peaceful elections in Thailand

Voting has ended in Thailand's general election but it is likely to be weeks before there is a result.

Protesters demanding the right to vote at a district office where voting was called off in Bangkok
Protesters demanding the right to vote at a district office where voting was called off in Bangkok Credit: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Apart from a few scuffles voting was relatively peaceful, a day after seven people were wounded by gunshots and explosions during clashes in north Bangkok.

There were reports of disruption to voting at almost half of Bangkok's polling stations and 37 out of 56 constituencies in the south, where opposition to the government is also strong.

Polling elsewhere in the country was unaffected.

Thailand ballot protests mean more voting lies ahead

Further voting in Thailand's election is already scheduled for February 23 after problems with advance voting last Sunday, while the ballot in some southern areas may not happen for weeks. Voting ends at 8am GMT, but no results will be announced today.

Protesters demanding the right to vote break into the district office in Bangkok. Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabutr said: "The situation overall is calm and we haven't received any reports of violence this morning. "The protesters are rallying peacefully to show their opposition to this election."

Voting in 13 of Bangkok's 33 constituencies was disrupted. Thirty-seven out of 56 constituencies in the south, where opposition to the government is also strong, suffered disruption. Polling elsewhere in the country was unaffected.

Read: Thailand goes to the polls under heavy security

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Thailand begins voting amid threats of disruption

Thailand has started voting on in an election called by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in December in an attempt to defuse protests aimed at overthrowing her.

Thais have begun voting. Credit: Reuters

However, the protesters are still out on the streets and say they may disrupt voting. The main opposition Democrat Party is boycotting the election.

Thailand goes to the polls under heavy security

Voters in Thailand go to the polls from 1am GMT under heavy security in an election that could push the divided country deeper into political turmoil and leave the winner paralysed for months by street protests, legal challenges and legislative limbo.

A pro-government activist injured during clashes in Bangkok. Credit: Reuters/ Nir Elias

The risk of bloodshed at the ballot remains high, a day after seven people were wounded by gunshots and explosions during a standoff between supporters and opponents of embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a north Bangkok stronghold of her Puea Thai Party.

The usual campaign billboards, glossy posters and pre-election buzz have been notably absent this time, as will be millions of voters fearful of poll violence or bent on rejecting a ballot bound to re-elect the political juggernaut controlled by Yingluck's billionaire brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Read: Thai 'opposition' supporter's car attacked in Bangkok