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Political violence leaves two dead

Scores more injured in election protest

Political violence leaves two dead
A man is attacked during clashes in Dhaka (Photo by Shahadat Hossain) reporter, Dhaka

December 10, 2012

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Two people were killed and hundreds injured in clashes yesterday as thousands of activists mounted a nationwide blockade of roads to demand an independent body to oversee elections next year.

Several areas in Dhaka and across the country became battlegrounds as violence flared between protesters led by led by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, police and ruling Awami League supporters.

Protesters attacked police with stones, sticks and home made bombs while police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and baton charges. Some ruling party supporters reportedly attacked opposition protesters with firearms and sharp weapons.

One man was killed in Dhaka and another, an activist from Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s biggest Islamic party, died in violence in Sirajgonj, in the northwest. 

“About fifty vehicles were vandalized with 11 being torched during the blockade” Masudur Rahman, a Dhaka police officer told

The BNP has declared a general strike for tomorrow which it says is in response to government’s “fascist behavior” during yesterday’s protest.

“The eighteen-party alliance will observe an agitation program today and a shutdown on Tuesday,” the party's acting secretary-general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, told reporters.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina accused the opposition of trying to destabilize the country.

The government, which came to power in 2009, last year scrapped a system where an independent caretaker body takes power ahead of elections.

The opposition says without this system polls cannot be free and fair.

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