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Sunday, January 30, 2005

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Bangladesh strike sparks clashes

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Bangladesh strike sparks clashes

Bangladesh strike sparks clashes
At least 40 people have been injured and another 40 detained after clashes between police and protesters erupted during a general strike in Bangladesh.

Police baton-charged protesters in the capital, Dhaka, where rioters attacked buses and rickshaws which defied the strike, Bangladesh television reported.

The strike was called by the opposition Awami League, after a deadly bomb attack on a party rally on Thursday.

The three-day stoppage has brought much of the country to a standstill.

In Dhaka, a city of nearly 10 million people, streets were deserted as the first day of the strike began to bite.

Across the country, schools and businesses have closed and there is little traffic on the streets on Saturday, normally a working day.

Barbed wire

Mobs stopped trains from running in several places, leaving many passengers stranded, while buses and rickshaws have been attacked and set alight, according to reports.

Thousands of police and troops were deployed at key locations around Dhaka, police said.

Security forces erected barbed wire barricades around the Awami League headquarters in the capital, as hundreds of League supporters shouted anti-government slogans.

The League has blamed the government for the attack on the party rally, which killed former Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria, and four other League officials.

The government has denied involvement and called for an investigation.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack and so far there have been no arrests.

In Dhaka on Saturday, riot police used batons to disperse demonstrators and arrested more than 40 people, police chief Mizanur Rahman told AFP news agency.

Five people were also arrested during scuffles in the port city of Chittagong, AFP said.

The latest violence comes a day after dozens of people were hurt when police fired tear gas at demonstrators carrying Mr Kibria's coffin to a martyr's monument, the news agency quoted witnesses as saying.
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/01/29 16:40:54 GMT

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