Security was stepped up in Bangladesh on Monday ahead of a major anti-government rally called by the Opposition to demand electoral reforms in the country.
The elite Rapid Action Battalion, searched the Purana Paltan area, the venue of the rally, for explosives with sniffer dogs, and will take charge of the area before the rally started, sources said adding an unprecedented 12,000 securitymen were being deployed.
The opposition says it expects to bring in 10 lakh partymen and supporters for the rally despite "mass arrests" on suspicion charges in different parts of the country.
Several thousand people have been detained by police during the past three days, media reports said.
However, state minister for Home Affairs Lutfuzzaman Baber said that the arrests were regular and had no links with opposition allegations.
Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed was expected to announce major new anti-government actions, including general strikes, from the rally in support of their demands of electoral reforms, without which they have threatened to boycott the polls set for early 2007.
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who had earlier shunned the opposition demands, has asked for Secretary General-level talks on them.
Meanwhile, the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, who fell sick two days ago left for Singapore last night for "better treatment."