Bangladesh police detain 300 Islamic party members

Reuters , Tuesday 20 Sep 2011

Mass arrests following a street march calling for top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami leaders to be released on Monday, violence during the march injured more than 150 people

Riot police advance towards members of Jamaat-e-Islami during a clash in Dhaka September 19, 2011 (Reuters)

Bangladeshi police detained about 300 members of the country's biggest religious party on Tuesday, a day after violent clashes across the country.

Two Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, including the acting chief, were among those detained for inciting the violence on Monday in which more than 150 people were injured.

The violence started in the capital and spread quickly to other places including Chittagong port city, police and witnesses said.

Jamaat called for street marches on Monday to demand the release of the party's top leaders who have been held in prison for months, awaiting trial for alleged crimes committed during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence from Pakistan.

The party denies the charges and has vowed to free its leaders, and supports a campaign by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), led by former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia, to oust the government.

Security forces also detained the editor of a pro-Jamaat newspaper, Daink Sangram, Abul Asad, leading to protests by some journalists who called for his release.

The BNP has called for a countrywide general strike on Thursday to protest against police actions and oppose recent fuel oil price hikes.

Jamaat and several smaller parties also support the proposed strike.

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