UK & World News
Thailand Protesters Clash On Eve Of Elections
At least seven people have been injured as gunfire and explosions broke out during clashes between rival protesters in Thailand.
The violence came during fighting between government supporters and opposition demonstrators, who had surrounded a ballot box distribution centre in the capital, Bangkok.
Pro-government protesters, who support Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, had gathered to ensure Sunday's election was not disrupted.
Security personnel and journalists ran for cover after a man pulled an assault rifle from a bag and began firing, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
"One victim was apparently shot in the chest and was hospitalised," an official from the city's Erawan emergency centre said.
People caught up in the confrontation crouched behind cars and ducked on a bridge, while others fled inside a shopping centre.
Several masked gunmen wearing armoured vests bent down under a highway overpass as one of them fired a weapon hidden in a sack.
Emergency services said six Thais were among the injured, including a reporter for the local Daily News newspaper. James Nachtwey, an American photojournalist, was grazed by a bullet in the leg.
An angry mob of pro-government supporters armed with huge sticks smashed the windscreens of a car carrying protesters that sped away. Rocks and firecrackers were also used in the violence.
Some opposition supporters have vowed to block the polls in order to prevent the re-election of Ms Yingluck. The protesters have demanded the government be replaced by an unelected council that would implement political and electoral reforms.
The prime minister has refused to step down, arguing she is open to changes and that such a council would be unconstitutional.
Three months of anti-government protests in Bangkok have left 10 people dead and nearly 600 wounded. Advance polling in the capital last week descended into chaos.
Polling day is unlikely to resolve the crisis as protesters managed to stop candidates from registering in some areas, meaning parliament will not have enough members to convene.
This could leave Thailand in political limbo as Ms Yingluck will be unable to form a government or pass a budget.
The protests took hold late last year after Ms Yingluck's party tried to push through an amnesty bill that would have allowed her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return from exile.
He was forced from power in 2006 but remains popular with the rural majority in the north. However, Bangkok's elite and many in the south consider him and his family a corrupting influence on the country.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.