Police on Monday cracked down on main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) detaining several senior leaders and raided its main office as the party called a nationwide strike for Tuesday after unidentified activists exploded six crude bombs at a rally.
Police said they had detained the BNP's acting secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and a string of top leaders from the party office after "the BNP activists turned unruly prompting our intervention to maintain public order".
Other BNP leaders were detained after the clash erupted when six bombs exploded around the rally called to protest what BNP alleged were mass killings, repressions, filing of false cases, following continuing violence linked to the 1971 war crimes trial.
No casualty was reported after the incident but authorities called out paramilitary forces to guard Dhaka streets along with police to prevent "subversive activities".
Witnesses said police stormed the BNP central office at Nayapaltan area after clashes rocked the capital when the opposition activists attacked police prompting them to retaliate with rubber bullets and tear gas turning parts of central Dhaka into a battleground for nearly an hour.
"We are calling the dawn-to-dusk hartal tomorrow protesting that attack," Alamgir announced ahead of his arrest after the improvised bombs exploded as he was addressing the rally in front of the party office.
But police said BNP workers themselves exploded the bombs in a "planned manner to create a ground for calling the hartal tomorrow".
BNP was conducting a campaign over electoral system as the national election was due next year but ongoing trials of several leaders of its crucial extreme rightwing ally Jamaat-e-Islami for 1971 war crimes has shifted their focus.