Violent protests erupt in Bangladesh

Featured - December 10th, 2012

Bangladeshi police fired rubber bullets and tear gas during political protests which grew violent across the country as rival groups clashed on Sunday.

Activists from the two main political parties exchanged home-made bombs at heated blockades set up by supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist party, led by former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. Protesters called for the government to revive a system under which an independent administration oversees general elections.

The system was overruled by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina last year.

According to police, opposition activists barricaded the highway from Dhaka to the main port of Chittagong and set ablaze buses, trucks and cars. At least two people were killed and 100 injured, while dozens activists were detained.

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

“We allowed peaceful protests. But once they started attacking cars and buses and throwing cocktail bombs, we used non-lethal weapons such as rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them,” Deputy police commissioner Imtiaz Ahmed told AFP.