Latest Bangladesh Protests Turn Violent Ahead of Boycotted Election

Search form

Latest Bangladesh Protests Turn Violent Ahead of Boycotted Election

Latest Bangladesh Protests Turn Violent Ahead of Boycotted Election
Tue, 12/31/2013
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

Violent clashes erupted in Bangladesh as opposition supporters took to the streets to protest against the general election next Sunday, which they are boycotting.

One person was killed as thousands of police took to the streets to try to foil the opposition rally. The leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), Khaleda Zia, was prevented from leaving her home to attend the demonstration.

"The government is undemocratic and illegal. It should step down immediately," Zia said in front of her home. She said the "march for democracy" would continue on Monday.

The opposition says it will not take part in the vote on January 5 unless an interim government oversees it and the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, steps down. The boycott means more than half of the 300 parliament seats will go uncontested, undermining the legitimacy of the election and making it highly unlikely that it will do anything to restore stability in one of the world's poorest countries.

Opposition party officials say hundreds of their supporters have been detained across the country in recent days, and Dhaka is virtually cut off as authorities have suspended bus, rail and ferry services into the city.

Violence has gripped the country as Hasina and her ruling Awami League press ahead with the vote. Police said a 21-year-old student was killed in the Malibagh area of Dhaka when security officials fired rubber bullets to disperse the activists. Local media reported that more than 650 people had been detained since Friday as part of a nationwide crackdown.

More than 150 people have died in political violence in Bangladesh since the crisis intensified in October. The conflict pits an opposition alliance led by Zia's BNP against Hasina, who accuses Zia of protecting people being tried or convicted of war crimes involving the nation's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

Jamaat-e-Islami, the main partner of Zia's party, wants the government to halt the war crimes trials of its leaders. Zia says the trials initiated by Hasina are politically motivated to weaken the opposition, an allegation the government has denied. Jamaat-e-Islami is banned from taking part in the election.

Dhaka's Daily Star newspaper said in an editorial on Sunday: "Too much blood has been spilled in these past many weeks. We demand a stop to such bloodletting."

Businesses have expressed concern, saying the conflict is affecting progress in the manufacturing sector, including a burgeoning garment industry that earns more than £12bn a year from exports.

Hasina and Khaleda, both related to former national leaders, have dominated politics in Bangladesh for more than two decades. The antagonism between them has frustrated attempts at reconciliation.

Article Tabs

The crooked math that's going to crash American law enforcement if policies aren't changed.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Behind the words of central bankers, finance ministers and other technocrats, we're able to see countries collapse, governments overthrown, populations impoverished, societies destroyed, fascism and racism explode, and people rebel.

He's friends with Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, a best-selling author, and has a wife who cooks excellent meatball soup. Romania is ready for its Transylvanian president with German flare and know-how.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Posted 1 day 2 hours ago

It’s no exaggeration to say that the School of the Americas has painted an entire region in blood.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

We are continuing where the freedom fighters of the Civil Rights Movement left off – we are a new generation of young multi­racial activists willing to take up the torch and we’re not going to stand for this anymore.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Now rolling into to its fourth month, the video game consumer movement known as #GamerGate continues to evolve in scope and focus as it seeks to advocate for greater ethical standards in gaming journalism.

Posted 1 day 22 hours ago

An anti-refugee wave has swept across Berlin as the December opening of six refugee container settlements nears – with one in 10 Germans now supporting National Socialism.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

Red Cross responders say there was a ban on working with the widely praised Occupy Sandy relief group because it was seen as politically unpalatable.

Politicians, a pop singer and a media tycoon were among those detained as pro-democracy demonstrators were forcibly removed from city center on Thursday.

Now rolling into to its fourth month, the video game consumer movement known as #GamerGate continues to evolve in scope and focus as it seeks to advocate for greater ethical standards in gaming journalism.

The anger and frustration at a discriminatory system is palpable – now, can the anti-police brutality movement go beyond rhetoric and offer concrete ideas for new policies and legislation?

He's friends with Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel, a best-selling author, and has a wife who cooks excellent meatball soup. Romania is ready for its Transylvanian president with German flare and know-how.

Sign Up