Violent clashes leave 2 dead, dozens hurt in Dhaka
Schools and stores remained shut and demonstrators continued to barricade rail stations, disrupting train services, and blocked cars.india Updated: Nov 22, 2006 12:35 IST
A nationwide strike to force election reforms paralysed traffic and business in Bangladesh for the third straight day on Wednesday, after violent clashes left two demonstrators dead and dozens injured.
Thousands of slogan-chanting protesters choked the streets and highways leading into the capital, Dhaka -- cutting the city of 10 million people off to the rest of the country.
Similar disruptions have been reported in more than 60 other cities and towns, ATN Bangla TV station reported.
There was no immediate violence reported on Wednesday, after clashes between rival political activists killed two people and injured dozens on Tuesday.
The violence on Tuesday occurred despite an interim government's pledge that it was nearing a solution to the impasse over election commissioners, installed by the former prime minister.
A 14-party alliance says the commissioners are biased.
Armed partisans of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia attacked a procession of former supporters who broke away to form a new party, said Mohammad Ali, a spokesman for the breakaway faction.
A statement issued by Zia's party denied responsibility for the attack.
Two supporters of the breakaway Liberal Democratic Party were badly beaten and died later in a state-run hospital in Chittagong, southeast of Dhaka, said a doctor there, Ajoy Deb.
The Liberal Democratic Party is not part of the 14-party alliance led by Sheikh Hasina, but has extended support for the strikes.
The attack in Chittagong left 25 people hurt, including four policemen, as rival activists fought with rocks and sticks.
In Bogra, north of Dhaka, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to break up a fight between rival supporters that injured about 25 people, the domestic United News of Bangladesh news agency said.
In Dhaka, supporters and opponents of the strike briefly clashed at the Dhaka University campus, ATN Bangla network reported.
At least three homemade bombs -- explosives in small tin pots -- went off during the melee. No one was hurt.
Schools and stores remained shut on Wednesday, and demonstrators continued to barricade rail stations, disrupting train services, and blocked cars and public buses.
The 14-party alliance, led by Hasina's Awami League party, resumed an indefinite nationwide strike on Monday after the interim government failed to meet a Sunday deadline to remove Chief Election Commissioner MA Aziz and his three deputies over the bias allegations.
Zia's coalition held power until October before handing over power to an interim government, headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed, to oversee the elections in January.
Hasina was the main opposition leader during Zia's five-year tenure.