In Pictures: Thais head to controversial poll

After protesters demanded the government's resignation, they are now boycotting the resulting early election.


Bangkok, Thailand - After months of protests left several dead and hundreds injured, Thailand's general election has passed more peacefully than many expected.

However, it is a sign of the political climate here in the Thai capital, Bangkok - where polling booths were obstructed, rocks and bottles were thrown at people trying to vote, and a gun was shot at voters near one polling station - that the day can still be described as relatively peaceful. 

Less than 24 hours before polls opened, a gunfight broke out between government supporters and anti-government protesters in which hand guns, homemade explosives and rifles were used in a battle which lasted more than three hours.

Election officials later claimed that almost 90 percent of polling booths had opened and operated without interruption, and closed on time across the country, much to the surprise of many - and despite attempts by protesters to blockade a number of stations in Bangkok - even though opposition leaders had promised not to. 

What happens next is anyone's guess. Although few believe the election is going to change much, the anti-government protesters continue to consolidate their bases in downtown Bangkok, and the government will, no doubt, claim a renewed legitimacy following the election results. 

For now, the army remains on the sidelines, happy to play a mediating role. But violence could easily flare again. 

Thailand's political turmoil is far from over