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Nearly 100 injured in Bangladesh protests over power

By Staff
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DHAKA, April 5 (Reuters) Nearly 100 people were injured in clashes in Bangladesh today after police tried to break up a protest over shortage of drinking water and electricity, police and witnesses said.

Police fired teargas shells and used batons to evict thousands of people squatting on a highway linking the capital Dhaka with the port city of Chittagong, demanding adequate power supplies to run their irrigation pumps.

A witness said a local legislator, Mohammad Slahuddin, tried to persuade the protesters to end their sit-in on the highway, but he was jeered away by a stone-throwing crowd.

''The people have just gone wild and are attacking anyone coming on their way,'' said a police officer.

Most areas in Bangladesh including Dhaka remain without power supply for several hours everyday. There is also a shortage of clean drinking water in the capital city of 10 million and most parts of the country.

At least 20 people have been killed since January in clashes with police in the northwestern area of Kanshat which had emerged as a focal point of the protests against power shortage.

Total nationwide power generation was 3,000 megawatts against demand of 4,500 megawatts, an official of the state-owned Power Development Board said.

Out of Bangladesh's nearly 60 power generation plants, 25 were out of operation due to mechanical faults, the official said.

REUTERS OM KP1543

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