Police officer killed in Bangladesh protests
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Police officer killed in Bangladesh protests

The police officer was hit on his forehead by a rock by an agitating mob, the DCP said.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 15:02 IST

A Bangladesh police officer died on Wednesday after a clash with activists protesting against the recent killing of up to five people who had demonstrated over an open-pit mine.

"The police officer died of his injuries at hospital in Dhaka. He had been hit on his forehead by a rock," said the city's deputy commissioner of police Kohinoor Mia.

Witnesses reported several other clashes between police and protestors in the capital.

The activists were part of a national strike called by the main opposition Awami League party and its allies following the deaths on Saturday, when paramilitary forces opened fire at a rally in northern Bangladesh.

The shootings occurred after a crowd gathered outside the offices of British firm Asia Energy Plc in the northern town of Phulbari where the company plans to invest 1.4 billion dollars in a mining project.

The proposed open-pit mine has drawn protests from farmers and locals worried about evictions and environmental damage.

In Dhaka the strike left schools, shops, colleges and private businesses closed and private vehicles off the road.

Over 10,000 police and paramilitary Bangladesh Rifles were on the streets, said police official Mahbubur Rashid.

In the country's second city of Chittagong, police deployed around 4,000 officers, but there has been no violence, said local police commissioner Majed ul Hoq.

Deliveries at the main port at Chittagong however had been suspended.

The strike was called by a 14-party alliance of opposition parties headed by the Awami League.

It has accused the security forces of being "trigger happy" and alleged that the protestors were turning away at the time they were shot.

Activists say the mine would displace 100,000 people and wipe out local communities.

London-based Asia Energy, however, puts the number of people displaced at 40,000 over three decades. It says all those affected would receive compensation and help to resume their livelihoods elsewhere.

On Monday, demonstrators at Phulbari went on the rampage burning buildings linked to the company and ransacking others.

First Published: Aug 30, 2006 15:02 IST