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Islamist groups enforce nationwide strike over anti-Islam film

Last Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 16:56

Dhaka: A coalition of 12 Islamist groups enforced a nationwide shutdown to protest an anti-Islam video amid tight security Sunday, a day after protesters clashed with police leaving over 50 people injured in the capital.

Police and witnesses said today over 40 protesters were detained in Dhaka and over a dozen were arrested in southeastern port city of Chittagong and southwestern Bhola as they tried to obstruct vehicle movements.

The Dhaka streets witnessed thin traffic while most schools, shops and private offices were closed as the extreme rightwing groups enforced the strike to protest against the film deemed offensive to Islam.

"They exposed people to miseries enforcing the strike capitalizing the religion with a bad intension," Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir told reporters.

Hundreds of police in riot gears and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) forces patrolled streets in the capital and other major cities.

Law enforcement agencies yesterday arrested some 40 leaders and activities of the Islamists coalition as they tried to stage a street protest against the film.

They also blasted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s ruling Awami League, which pursue a secular principle, for scrapping of "absolute faith in Allah" as one of four pillars of the constitution in line with a Supreme Court verdict.

The Bangladesh government, however, condemned the film and blocked video-sharing website YouTube in an effort to calm tensions while Hasina asked US government to immediately stop sale and projection of the controversial film.

"No Muslim can tolerate such defamation of Prophet," she said and asked US authorities to expose to "exemplary" punitive actions the filmmaker.

Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party chief Khaleda Zia also joined her archrival in condemning the film.

Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) officials said the Google US and the Google APAC that control YouTube facility across Asia pacific region were yet to respond to a Bangladesh request to block the film themselves.


First Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 16:53

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