Dhaka: Bangladesh`s port city of Chittagong and its surrounding areas were paralysed for the third consecutive day Sunday as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) enforced a dawn-to-dusk strike to protest the detention of one of its top leaders.
BNP chief and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who left for China Saturday, endorsed the strike call and demanded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, her principal political rival, step down.
The country was "in danger", Zia told the media before leaving for Beijing.
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a member of the BNP`s standing committee and considered close to the former prime minister, was arrested Thursday on charges of a murder that occurred in June this year.
He is also wanted on "war crimes" charges - of targeting unarmed civilians during the 1971 freedom movement, leading Islamist militia and Pakistan Army personnel to homes of minority Hindu families.
The protest was peaceful in the early part of Sunday, The Daily Star reported.
The International Crimes Tribunal that is holding the "war crimes" trials, is to hear Sunday an application by its investigators seeking detention of Chowdhury, a lawmaker who leads the Islamists within the BNP.