Bangladesh oppn enforces nationwide shutdown



Dhaka: Former Bangladesh Premier Khaleda Zia's BNP-led opposition grouping on Tuesday enforced a nationwide general strike demanding elections under a non-party caretaker government, with hundreds of protesters exploding crude bombs and torching vehicles.

Law enforcement agencies put up a strict security vigil in view of the daylong strike, two days after deadly political clashes claimed three lives and left more than 100 people injured.

Opposition activists torched vehicles and exploded crude bombs, prompting police to use tear gas and batons, witnesses said.

Ahead of today's stoppage, at least 16 motor vehicles, including five buses, were set alight by protesters overnight at different parts of the capital Dhaka while at least 20 others were vandalised.

Central BNP leaders preferred to stay inside the central party office at downtown Dhaka, shutting the main gate in the morning as police in riot gear stood in front.

Party spokesman Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, flanked by a number of activists, told newsmen from inside the closed gate that the law enforcement agency people kept them confined, an allegation declined by police. "Police have confined us inside BNP Naya Paltan party office... We aren't allowed to bring any processions and rallies," Rizvi said.

Police Deputy Commissioner Anwar Hossain said they had enforced a vigil for protection of public.

At least 10 activists were picked up from different spots for their alleged involvement in vandalism in the city and obstructing vehicle movement.

PTI