Bangladesh arrests key opposition figure on second day of poll protest
Bangladesh on Tuesday arrested a key opposition figure and deployed thousands of police as opposition protests entered a second day, after four activists were killed and scores were injured on the first anniversary of last year`s disputed polls.
Dhaka: Bangladesh on Tuesday arrested a key opposition figure and deployed thousands of police as opposition protests entered a second day, after four activists were killed and scores were injured on the first anniversary of last year`s disputed polls.
The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cracked down on displays of anti-government sentiment in the capital, Dhaka, as opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia stepped up calls for fresh elections.
Police used teargas and rubber bullets to scatter protesters in Dhaka and elsewhere.
"We had to use teargas and rubber bullets to disperse opposition activists after they smashed nearly a dozen vehicles and set off blasts," said Khayrul Fazal, a police official in the northeastern district of Sylhet.
Acting Secretary General Mirza Fakrul Islam Alamgir of Khaleda`s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) was detained on Tuesday as he stepped out of Dhaka`s National Press Club, where he had taken shelter, police said.
"He was arrested in specific cases," police official Mashiur Rahman said, without elaborating.
Last January, Hasina`s Awami League came to power for a second consecutive term after violent elections boycotted by the BNP, provoking criticism from international observers over the poll`s legitimacy.
On Monday, Khaleda, who said she had been unlawfully detained inside her Dhaka office since the weekend, called for an indefinite nationwide transport blockade after the government foiled rallies by her to mark the election anniversary, which it had dubbed "democracy killing day."
Prime Minister Hasina denied that Khaleda, a longtime political rival, was being held against her will. The government said it had provided extra security at the opposition leader`s office for her protection.
In a televised address on Monday night, Hasina rejected calls to step down and urged Khaleda to shun the violence.