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1 killed, 20 hurt in Bangladesh protests

14 August 2013, 15:46

Dhaka - Clashes between Bangladeshi police and opposition activists left one man dead and injured about 20 on Wednesday in the second day of a nationwide general strike, television stations reported.

Police used night sticks and tear gas as dozens of protesters tried to march into the streets of Dhaka's southern Jatrabari suburb, according to Dhaka's private Somoy TV and RTV. Police officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Tuesday, opposition activists exploded crude bombs, blocked roads and burned vehicles to enforce a 48-hour nationwide general strike, injuring dozens of people.

Bangladesh's largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, called the strike to denounce a court decision that its registration with the Election Commission is invalid.

A High Court panel ruled on 1 August that the party's regulations violate the constitutional provision of secularism by saying it wants to impose Shariah, or Islamic law. Because of the court decision, the party could be barred from taking part in the next elections.

At least 20 people were injured on Tuesday after police fired rubber bullets to disperse dozens of protesters who tried to block a highway in Meherpur district, 176km west of Dhaka, the capital, the private television station ETV reported. Another 30 people were injured as homemade bombs went off in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country, the station said.

The ruling against Jamaat came amid calls to ban the party for opposing the country's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.

Five party leaders have been sentenced to either death or life imprisonment for crimes against humanity linked to the independence war. Several others, including party chief Matiur Rahman Nizami, are standing trial on charges of war crimes stemming from the 1971 war.

- AP


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