Bangladesh: Sporadic violence marks Jamaat-e-Islam strike
Dhaka: The nationwide strike by Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami demanding release of its top brass being tried for 1971 war crime charges turned violent on Tuesday in many cities including Dhaka where a US embassy vehicle was attacked, forcing police to fire tear gas and arrest the protesters.
Sporadic incidents of violence were witnessed in Dhaka and other cities as activists set on fire several buses and a police car and exploded home-made bombs.
In the JI's first countrywide strike in four years, the protesters attacked a US embassy car at Khilkhet area of Dhaka leaving its driver seriously injured.
The US embassy officials, however, declined to comment on the attack immediately despite their earlier call upon the government and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) for peaceful settlement of disputes annoying the government leaders.
The activists also torched a bus in suburban Savar and tried to set ablaze several vehicles in Sylhet.
Police said as many as 69 Jamaat activists were arrested from Dhaka and about 50 vehicles were vandalised during the strike hours, according to bdnews24.Com.
Most of the schools and major shopping malls were closed, while most vehicles remained off the road. Banks and other financial institutions remained opened.
Police used batons and tear gas canisters at different parts of the city.
JI activists also set on fire a police van in eastern Brahmanbaria district and exploded crude bombs to frighten the residents at Rajshahi.
"We will not tolerate any attempt to disrupt law and order situation in the name of strike," a police spokesman said.
Officer-in-charge of Jatrabari police station K M Abul Kashem said the activists came out from different lanes and vandalised motor vehicles and tried to set them on fire.
Main opposition BNP extended its "moral support" to the nationwide shutdown despite recent calls by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to sever their ties with JI or face "consequences" for the "efforts to protect war criminals".
JI was opposed to Bangladesh's 1971 independence while eight stalwarts of the party including its incumbent chief Matiur Rahman Nizami and former chief Ghulam Azam were being tried for perpetrating crimes against humanity during the Liberation War siding with the Pakistani troops.