Bombs detonated, rail lines removed in protest against Bangladesh poll date

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 26, 2013 2:09 AM
Bombs detonated, rail lines removed in protest against Bangladesh poll date

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladeshi opposition supporters detonated scores of homemade bombs and removed railway tracks to disrupt train services on Tuesday as a planned nationwide protest against upcoming elections turned violent, witnesses and police said.

One man died and dozens were wounded across the country in clashes between supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and police, witnesses said.

The Election Commission announced on Monday that elections would be held on January 5. The BNP wanted to postpone the announcement until after an agreement had been reached on the formation of a caretaker cabinet to oversee the election.

Homemade bombs exploded in Dhaka and elsewhere and railway tracks were removed in several places, witnesses said.

The BNP has rejected any attempt to hold an election until it is satisfied a neutral interim administration is in place without Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Both heirs to political dynasties, Hasina and BNP leader Begum Khaleda Zia have rotated as prime minister for most of the last 22 years amid unending enmity, set against an all-too-familiar background of violent protest in one of the world's poorest countries.

The dispute over the conduct of the election has led to the deaths of at least 30 people in protests and a series of strikes over recent weeks.

(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Nick Macfie)