Three dead, over 100 hurt, in Bangladesh violence

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 29, 2012 3:08 AM
Three dead, over 100 hurt, in Bangladesh violence

DHAKA (Reuters) - Three people were killed and more than 100 injured on Sunday in clashes between Bangladeshi police and activists of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) trying to stage anti-government protests in defiance of a ban, witnesses said.

Two people were killed in Chandpur, southeast of the capital and another in a town further south as thousands of BNP workers took to the streets, chanting demands for the ouster of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government, witnesses said.

Mohammad Shahidullah, police superintendent of Chandpur, confirmed the two deaths there, at least one by gunshots.

"The situation is now under control but still very tense," he said by telephone.

Police on Saturday banned proposed demonstrations in the capital and other main cities by the BNP and its allies because of fear of violence, which intensified after Hasina's Awami League also called for a rally in the capital, Dhaka, on Sunday.

The two parties, which have been fierce rivals for years and will face off again in an election due next year, both announced plans for demonstrations on Monday.

"We are bracing for a tougher time ahead," said senior Dhaka police officer Benazir Ahmed.

Ahmed said security forces were also determined to thwart attempts by Islamist radicals to disrupt the peace.

The military said a coup attempt in December was mounted by serving and former army officers who have links with radical Islamists.

(Reporting by Anis Ahmed and Azad Majumder; Editing by Robert Birsel)