Violence mars BNP strike protesting split of Dhaka
Last Updated: Sunday, December 04, 2011, 15:59
Dhaka: Violence broke out during a BNP strike against a Bangladesh government decision to divide the 400- year-old capital into two zones, as the protesters burned vehicles and police retaliated with batons injuring eight, during the 'hartal' which affected normal life.

Ex-mayor of just split Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Sadek Hossain Khoka was detained briefly as clashes erupted between riot police and activists as he led the protests at old part of Dhaka where the protesters torched a police van and a motorbike.

Television footage showed armed policemen escorting Khoka and later whisked away in a prison van while a police spokesman said he was detained for his "own safety" during clashes but was freed after an hour.

Witnesses said at least a dozen opposition activists were detained from the downtown court complex as they hurled brickbats at police, who retaliated with batons and tear gas canisters. Eight protesters were injured, according to reports.

"Nearly 100 tear gas shells were lobbed as the pro-opposition lawyers joined the BNP activists bringing out processions at the court complex," a photojournalist who witnessed the clash said.

Schools, big shopping malls and businesses were shut while traffic was very thin on the street with most transport operators and private car owners preferred to stay off the road during the day-long stoppage across the capital Dhaka as police with riot vans and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) men kept a sharp vigil.

Meanwhile, BNP's acting general secretary Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told newsmen at the Nayapaltan party office alleged that nearly 100 of their workers were arrested and warned that such actions by ruling Awami League would only intensify the anti-government campaign.

The government, meanwhile, appointed today two bureaucrat "administrators" for the two city corporations while an official order said mayoral elections to the split municipal bodies would be held in next 90 days.

The parliament last week passed into law a bill seeking to split the capital in the house being boycotted by the opposition and President Zillur Rahman gave his assent to the law on Thursday.


First Published: Sunday, December 04, 2011, 15:59

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