Bangladesh arrests strikers, tightens security

Police wielding batons and firing teargas arrested at least 20 opposition activists in Dhaka on Sunday during a strike to protest against plans to scrap a controversial law.

Police wielding batons and firing teargas arrested at least 20 opposition activists in Dhaka on Sunday during a strike to protest against plans to scrap a controversial law.
"Police seemed determined not to allow any procession on the streets," said Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury, a leader of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina's Bangladesh Awami League party, which called the eight-hour strike from 6 a.m.(6.30 am IST)

"They are chasing and grabbing our people although we vowed to hold a peaceful protest," Chowdhury said. "This is a violation of our fundamental right."

Authorities said they deployed more than 5,000 police and paramilitary guards in the city of nine million to prevent possible violence and property damage, after at least ten Awami League activists were injured on Saturday in clashes with police.

Sunday's strike opposes a move by the government of Begum Khaleda Zia, which won power in an election in October, to drop a law ensuring life-long security protection for her bitter rival Hasina, and her sister.

Streets were bare and hundreds of police guarded key intersections and government buildings. The maximum number of police were posted outside the Awami League's central office.

Bureau Report

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