Posted on 10 December 2012.
Two die and hundreds injured in nationwide demonstrations demanding caretaker administration oversees 2014 poll
At least two people were killed and more than 200 others injured in violence in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, and other districts, police and witnesses report.
Police have fired rubber bullets and teargas canisters to disperse protesters who set fire to vehicles and tried to block roads across country to demand restoration of a caretaker administration to oversee upcoming national elections.
Local police chief Wahid Zaman said a protester was killed during clashes on Sunday between opponents and supporters of the government in Sirajganj district, 104km (65 miles) north-west of Dhaka.
Another protester was killed in the capital by a speeding bus as some demonstrators tried to stop it, said a police official who did not want to be named.
At least 200 people, including some police officers, were injured in clashes between police and protesters across the country, according to reports by local television stations Ekattar TV and Somoy TV.
A coalition of 18 opposition parties had called for roads to be blocked across the country on Sunday to highlight calls for the restoration of a constitutional provision allowing a nonpartisan caretaker administration to oversee the polls due in 2014. The government of Sheikh Hasina scrapped the 15-year-old provision last year after the supreme court ruled it unconstitutional, saying the constitution allows only popularly elected people to run the government.
The opposition, led by a former prime minister, Khaleda Zia, says the change will allow Hasina to rig the election. Hasina denies the allegation.
Television footage showed protesters attacking vehicles and police with rocks and sticks. Police responded with rubber bullets and teargas.
More than 100 vehicles were smashed or set on fire, the TV reports said.
Police said they fired rubber bullets and teargas to break up protesters in Jatrabari district, Dhaka. The demonstrators responded by throwing bricks.
Dhaka’s Daily Star newspaper reported that dozens of homemade bombs – small tin pots filled with explosives – went off in the capital’s Gabtali district.
Using teargas, police fought pitched battles with hundreds of protesters in Gabtali, the newspaper said.