Divided Thailand votes but opposition threatens poll disruption

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Divided Thailand votes but opposition threatens poll disruption

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Thailand is voting in a general election against a background of unrest and tension in the divided country.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra voted early, soon after polls opened in Bangkok.

But more violence is feared, the day after seven people were wounded in a stand-off between supporters and opponents of the embattled leader.

Anti-government protesters are trying to disrupt the vote and force the prime minister to resign.

They feel she is a mere puppet of her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, the former leader ousted from power and living in self-imposed exile.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has led calls for a poll boycott.

The opposition wants the government replaced by a “People’s Council” that would root out corruption and cronyism.

The latest wave of protests began in November after the ruling party tried to introduce a blanket amnesty.

Despite a heavy security deployment, reports say polling has been disrupted by demonstrators in some areas.