|Violence-hit Bangladesh faces disaster, says political party
Another major Bangladesh political party announced a boycott of the upcoming general election, declaring the country was on the “brink of disaster'' as seven more people were killed in poll protests.
Former dictator Hussain Muhammad Ershad said his Jatiya Party, the country's third largest and a key ally of the ruling Awami League, would not contest the January 5 elections, following in the footsteps of the opposition alliance.
“Since all parties are not contesting, so the Jatiya Party will also not participate in the polls,'' Ershad said.
“I am not going to contest the election. The country is at the brink of disaster. We're heading towards uncertainty.’’
The remarks came as more violence erupted across the country between police and bomb-throwing opposition supporters over the elections, leaving another seven people dead.
Police said today they opened fire on opposition activists during fierce clashes in the southern district of Satkhira and the central district of Chandpur, after some of the protesters blocked a main road with logs in Satkhira.
“They attacked officers with crude bombs and guns as we tried to clear the logs after Monday midnight,'' the district's police chief Molla Jahangir Hossain told AFP. “We responded by firing rifles. Later we learnt that two protesters were killed,'' he said.
In Chandpur police fired shotguns at about 300 opposition supporters, who attacked them with home-made bombs and rocks, local police chief Amir Jafar told AFP.
“Two people including a protester were killed,'' he added.
Another two people were killed during protests in the port city of Chittagong while a burns victim succumbed to his injuries in the capital.
At least 59 people have now died in street violence since late October, when the opposition launched a series of protests, strikes and transport blockades.