Protests turn deadly in Bangladesh


Police in Bangladesh have fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters staging blockades across the country as part of an opposition campaign for an independent caretaker administration to oversee next year’s national election. At least two people were killed and dozens hurt across Bangladesh on Sunday when police and ruling party activists clashed with opposition protesters. 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. Demonstrators threw scores of small hand-made bombs, burnt tyres and vehicles. “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. Police in the capital arrested about 50 people for using violence, Masudur Rahman, Dhaka police spokesman, said. About 10,000 police were deployed to try to keep highways open in the country, but officials said traffic on many roads grounded to a halt, including the highway from Dhaka to the main port of Chittagong. “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,” Imtiaz Ahmed, deputy police commissioner of Dhaka, said.