Opposition calls two-day agitation after one-day general strike

Reuters/Palash Khan

Three small bombs exploded in Dhaka on Sunday during a general strike called by Bangladesh’s opposition parties. Protests against government attempts to change the voting system are set to continue for the next two days.


Police clashed with protesters outside Dhaka as the strike brought the country to a halt and arrested about 80 opposition activists.

Police said two blasts occurred near the headquarters of Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which led the strike call.

In Mirpur a rickshaw-puller was injured in another small blast, police said.

Security was tightened across the city after a dozen buses were torched and 40 people arrested overnight, police said.

Shops, businesses and schools were shut throughout the country and major roads and highways were deserted. The country’s main port at Chittagong ground to a halt as it was cut off from the rest of the country by the strike.

Police beat protesters in two towns just outside of Dhaka, after they were attacked with bricks and stones.

The incidents have left at least 30 people injured, according to the online edition of the  Daily Star.

The BNP has called for a national demonstration in Dhaka Monday and demonstrations throughout the country on Tuesday.

The BNP and its ally the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami called the protest after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League announced plans to scrap the country's tradition of appointing a caretaker government for three months during election campaigns.

Zia told reporters Saturday her party would not contest future polls if the government scraps the caretaker system, which has covered four successive elections.

The strike is the fourth the BNP has called since it suffered a crushing defeat in December 2008 elections.

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