Clashes leave 300 injured in Bangladesh 2007-01-08 17:57:28

    DHAKA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- At least 300 people were wounded as riot police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka Monday to disperse former opposition activists protesting what they called a stage-managed parliamentary election on January 22.

    Witnesses said the police swung into actions when slogan-chanting protestors held demonstrations in the capital and its outskirts on the second day of 72-hour transport blockade across the country.

    Troops mounting machine guns on open jeeps patrolled the streets but remained calm. Besides, some 12,000 riot police were deployed to maintain order.

    A grand alliance led by former main opposition Awami League president Sheikh Hasina enforced the blockade from Sunday to press for scrapping the January 22 polls and preparing a flawless electoral roll in a bid to ensure free and fair elections.

    The alliance is also demanding President Professor Iajuddin Ahmed resign from the office of the Chief Advisor of the interim caretaker government for being biased to former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's 4-party alliance.

    The blockade disrupted normal life and commercial activities. The capital remained cut off from the rest of the country as highway and train communications were severely disrupted.

    The witnesses said grand alliance activists and police fought pitched battles at different places in Dhaka and its outskirts. To control the situation police used batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. The injured people were rushed to hospitals and clinics.

    The grand alliance is planning second spell of similar blockade next week to resist the "unilateral" elections. Ignoring the grand alliance's demand, President Ahmed said the parliamentary elections must be held on schedule in accordance with the Constitution.

Editor: Yao Runping
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