Updated: 02/01/2014 18:36 | By Agence France-Presse

Shots, blasts as Thai protest rivals clash on election eve

Violence erupted in Bangkok on Saturday, the eve of tense Thai elections, with explosions and heavy gunfire breaking out in clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters, according to an AFP journalist.


Shots, blasts as Thai protest rivals clash on election eve

A Thai anti-government protester brandishes a sword during a rally in Bangkok's China town on February 1, 2014 - by Pornchai Kittiwongsakul

Security personnel and journalists raced to take cover after a man pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began spraying bullets during a stand-off between government supporters and scores of opposition demonstrators, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

The firing was ongoing.

Emergency workers said several people have been injured in the fighting, which broke out as anti-government groups laid siege to a ballot box distribution centre in the Thai capital.

"One victim was apparently shot in the chest and was hospitalised," an official from the city's Erawan emergency centre said.

Tensions are high in the capital ahead of controversial elections on Sunday, which opposition demonstrators have vowed to block as they seek to prevent the likely re-election of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

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