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Opposition demonstrates massive protests in Bangladesh

Thousands of supporters of Bangladesh’s largest opposition party marched into Dhaka on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration and call for fresh elections.

At the Golapbagh sports complex, where the rally was taking place, the crowd began to flow out onto the streets, chanting, “Sheikh Hasina is a vote thief.”

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Tensions were high in the capital after security forces invaded the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) offices on Tuesday, killing at least one person and injuring dozens more.

Two of the party’s top leaders were detained on Friday on suspicion of inciting violence, joining the 2,000 or more activists and sympathizers who the party claimed had been held since November 30 to thwart the rally.

The political environment in Bangladesh, one of Asia’s economies with the quickest growth rates, has drawn the attention of Western nations and the United Nations.

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The nation had traditionally supported the US, but in recent years, Prime Minister Hasina has sought closer connections with China, and Beijing has funded several of her multi-billion dollar development projects.

Police erected checkpoints at entry points to the city, and the huge metropolis of about 20 million people was heavily guarded.

The normally clogged roadways of Dhaka saw only a few cycle rickshaws and cars, and BNP officials accused the government of instigating an unofficial transit strike to keep people from attending the demonstration.

According to local media reports, BNP campaigners were attacked by members of the ruling party on Friday.


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