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Hundreds injured in police action in Bangladesh

By Staff
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Dhaka, Apr 19 (UNI) More than 100 people were injured and vehicles, shops and other establishments burnt as thousands of opposition activists today fought pitched battles with police here after being intercepted on their way to lay siege to the Prime Minister's office.

Witnesses said riot police wearing bulletproof vests charged a barrage of tear gas cannisters to disperse the angry protestors demanding formation of caretaker government and Election Commission for free and fair national elections scheduled for early next year.

The administration earlier imposed prohibitory orders and put up road barricades to prevent the demonstrators from marching toweards the Prime Minister's office.

Witnesses said demonstrators after being beaten, damaged dozens of cars, shops and burnt used tiers in Bangla Motor, Dhanmondi and Shahbag areas in central Dhaka this noon.

The 14-party opposition combine led by Sheikh Hasina's Awami League announced countrywide agitation on Saturday and dawn-to-dusk hartal on Sunday in protest against the police action.

The witnesses said the law-enforcers in riot gear swung into action at about 1145 hrs (local time) as the marchers assembled at the Bangla Motor crossing to start off for their declared venue of squatting.

The clash between police and opposition activists fast spread to different areas forcing shops and business centers to pull down their shutters.

Awami League led 14-party combine enforced the sit-in to press for the reform proposals placed by opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in parliament on February 12 last.

UNI XC SK HT1935 --------------------------------------------------------------------- -----------

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