Bangladesh hit by strike again; 20 hurt

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at
Wed Nov 3 05:56:24 MST 1999

> 2 November 1999 : Bangladesh hit by strike again; 20 hurt
> Bangladesh hit by strike again; 20 hurt
> DHAKA: At least 20 people, including two photographers, were injured to
> during clashes between police and opposition activists enforcing a general
> strike in Dhaka, witnesses said. They said the violence started as police
> moved to disperse hundreds of activists chanting anti-government slogans
> outside the office of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party
> (BNP).
> Police used batons and teargas before firing rubber bullets. The activists
> responded by exploding home-made bombs and throwing rocks, witnesses said.
> Some of the injured were admitted in the Dhaka Medical College Hospital,
> where nearly 500 doctors and nurses resumed duties Monday after a five-day
> strike in protest against a mob attack on their colleagues.
> ``Thick smoke from teargas shells filled the air and at one stage
> became difficult. People were gasping for fresh air,'' one photographer on
> the scene said. ``It was a sudden battle that caught many people on the
> streets off guard and they were running in every direction for shelter,''
> another journalist said.
> The latest strike, called by a BNP-led four-party alliance in their
> relentless bid to oust the government, largely paralysed Bangladesh. Most
> businesses, the country's two stock exchanges and schools were closed for
> the day. Deliveries from Chittagong and Mongla ports were suspended, port
> officials said.
> Rickshaws, small cabs and a few buses operated on the streets of Dhaka.
> ``But some of the bus riders were (opposition) militants, who were seen
> throwing bombs down on the streets,'' one police officer said. One bomb
> landed near a police box at the city's Farmgate area, he said.
> Police and witnesses said six people were injured when activists lobbed a
> bomb into a bus in the capital's Palashy area. Strike supporters set
> two mini-cabs carrying newspaper reporters and assaulted their drivers,
> witnesses said.
> Riot police patrolled parts of the rain-drenched city while paramilitary
> soldiers guarded the main government secretariat and other key buildings.
> The strike was described by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Sunday as a
> ``conspiracy to destroy democracy.''
> Opposition parties have staged nearly 40 days of strikes in the
> three-and-a-half years since Hasina took power, rejecting her various
> of talks.
> Monday's stoppage was called to protest a government plan to hold
> elections outside Dhaka on December 6. The opposition has also called for
> further strikes on November 7 and 8. The parties demand that Hasina step
> down and allow parliamentary elections before the scheduled vote in 2001.
> (Reuters)
> For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service
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> Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 1999.

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