Last Update 18:23
Friday, 15 November 2019

Bangladesh police fire tear gas at election protest

Armed protesters blockading roads across Bangladesh to press for an independent body to oversee next year's election were dispersed by police firing rubber bullets and tear gas

Reuters , Sunday 9 Dec 2012
Activist of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Activist of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party throws a piece of brick toward pro-government activists during a nationwide blockade in Dhaka (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 1283
Views: 1283

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse armed protesters staging blockades across Bangladesh on Sunday as part of an opposition push to get an independent administration to oversee next year's general election.

Activists from the country's two main political parties hurled homemade bombs and threatened to use guns and other weapons, Reuters witnesses and local television said.

Police and witnesses said supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), led by former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, and its allies set ablaze about 30 buses, trucks and cars in the capital Dhaka and other parts of the country.

"We are trying to contain the battles between activists and police, which has prevented movement of vehicles and forced residents from the streets," a police officer said.

Witnesses said the highway from Dhaka to the main port of Chittagong was deserted after the road had been barricaded. Other roads around the country were also blocked.

At least two people were killed and about 100 injured, police said. Dozens of activists were detained across the country.

The political scene in Bangladesh has been dominated for decades by bitter rivals Khaleda Zia and current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, whose electoral campaigns have sparked violent clashes and on occasions prompted military intervention.

The two women, both in their mid 60s and who have served two terms each as the country's leader, are likely to face each other again in the next election due by end of 2013.

The BNP called for Sunday's blockade to force Sheikh Hasina to restore a system of holding parliamentary elections under a non-party caretaker administration, instead of it being supervised by the party in power.

Hasina's government over-ruled the caretaker provision in a constitutional amendment last year.

The BNP and allies including Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamic party, want the caretaker system to be re-instated to guard against what they say would be an attempt by Hasina's Awami League party to steal the election results.

In 2007, the army was forced to intervene amid an election standoff between the two main parties.

It formed a caretaker administration after the then BNP-led government failed to hold fresh elections by the end of its parliamentary mandate. A military-led interim government organised fresh elections in 2008.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.