violence marks nationwide Bangladesh strike
Sunday November 14, 2010 05:41:06 PM,
Stray incidents of violence marked the dawn-to-dusk nationwide
strike called Sunday by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist
Party (BNP) to protest the eviction of party chief and former
prime minister Khaleda Zia from the government house she had lived
in since 1972.
Former minister and BNP Chittagong
city unit president Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury was injured
during a clash with police in the port town at noon, The Daily
Demonstrators lobbed a Molotov cocktail at a police patrol van in
the national capital, said online newspaper bdnews24.com.
BNP activists brought out a procession in front of the party
central office, forcing the police to lob teargas shells and
charge them with batons in a bid to disperse the crowd.
A woman activist sustained injuries during the incident.
BNP Secretary General Khandakar Delwar Hossain said people have
lost their confidence on the government and are spontaneously
observing the strike.
A huge contingent of police was deployed around the party office
to maintain law and order.
The protest was peaceful in other parts of the country.
The main opposition is protesting Saturday evening's eviction of
the party chief.
A tearful Zia, 64, told the media Saturday evening at her party
office that she was "forcibly dragged out" of her house. She was
not even allowed to change her clothes and had to leave "ek kapore",
meaning with the clothes she had on at that time.
The former prime minister said memories of her husband and the
country's former president, late Ziaur Rahman, were in that house
and she was not even allowed to bring out her personal belongings.
Political observers said the incident would sharpen confrontation
between Zia, who has been boycotting parliament, and her arch
political rival, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Zia and her supporters disregarded an appeal by the country's
business leaders who urged her to withdraw Sunday's strike call
considering the "economic condition and suffering of homebound
people before Eid-ul-Azha", the United News of Bangladesh (UNB)
In a joint statement, they said new investors were showing
interest in putting in their money. "Sunday's hartal would have a
negative impact on investments."
Speaking for the government, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said
Zia's counsel had not moved the stay petition against the high
court verdict to the appellate division to gain "political
Zia was evicted from a single-storeyed colonial house in Dhaka
Cantonment. While the army, which technically owns the house, said
Zia had quit voluntarily, the BNP insists she was evicted.
The government acted after the Dhaka High Court Oct 12 rejected
Zia's appeal against her eviction. The court gave a one-month quit
notice that ended Friday.
Zia had appealed to the Supreme Court that fixed Nov 29 for the
hearing. Her lawyers Saturday claimed to have received an
"assurance" from the chief justice against eviction.
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