Clashes continue in Bangladesh for second day, toll reaches eight
At least four people were killed in fresh clashes in Bangladesh on Monday on the second day of a 60-hour Opposition strike, police said, bringing to eight the number of people killed during the protest.
The Opposition alliance, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has called for a non-partisan caretaker government to oversee next year’s general elections.
Violence flared up in many parts of Bangladesh as Opposition supporters clashed with police and ruling Awami League activists.
The authorities issued a ban on rallies and procession in southern Chandpur town after a 16-year-old boy, said to be supporting the Opposition, was killed in clashes between pro-strike activists and ruling party followers.
The rivals fought street battles for nearly two hours and attacked shops, residents and vehicles in the town, some 70 km south of capital Dhaka, said district police chief Mohammad Amir Zafar.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the fighting activists. The ban on rallies will be in force until Tuesday evening, police said.
Police in south-eastern Chittagong district said a truck driver was killed when he was hit on the head by a stone thrown by strike supporters near Satkania in Chittagong district, 250 km south-east of Dhaka.
A BNP leader was killed in south-western Jhenaidah when a home-made bomb exploded near Harinakundu Bazaar, over 170 km from Dhaka, police officer Altaf Hossain said.
A BNP youth leader died when a rival group attacked him during a demonstration in Mirzapur of Tangail district, nearly 80 km north of Dhaka, police said.
On Sunday, clashes in the countryside killed at least four activists from the ruling and Opposition camps.
Private broadcaster Somoy television reported that violence across Bangladesh had left more than 200 people injured.
The supporters of the strike set off home-made bombs, torched ruling party offices and blocked major highways, media reports said.
The BNP has expressed fears that the Awami League-led ruling coalition of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina might rig the election if left in charge during the polls.