Hundreds injured after Bangladesh police clash with opposition activists


Police in northeastern Bangladesh used batons and tear gas to disperse opposition activists amid a political dispute over who will oversee the next election.

About 300 people were injured in the clash on Saturday evening, including some from live fire, the country’s leading Bengali-language newspaper Prothom Alo reported on Sunday.

The United News of Bangladesh agency said as many as 150 people including police officers were hurt in the violence, which occurred in Habiganj town.

GK Gaus, a local leader in the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), said chaos broke out after thousands of supporters began marching through the streets. Police confronted them and ordered them to stop.

Palash Ranjan Dey, a police official in Habiganj district, said police were forced to take action after opposition activists suddenly attacked them while trying to break a police barricade.

The BNP – led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia – has been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the transfer of power to a non-party caretaker government until the next general election in January.

Zia’s party and its allies accuse Hasina of vote rigging in 2018, and the party has been protesting over who should oversee the next general election.

Hasina has said she hopes to return to power for a fourth consecutive term and says the election should be held under her government’s supervision as specified in the constitution.

The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations have been urging all sides to avoid violence and work towards holding a credible election.__Al Jazeera