Bangladesh again Hit by Opposition Strike
The Bangladeshi capital was hit by a second strike in as many days Monday as an alliance of opposition parties called for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to quit.
Amid tight police security, there were no reports of violence on Monday, although activists of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) torched two buses during a candle-lit march late Sunday, police said.
The left-wing parties enforced an eight-hour strike Sunday to protest a bomb attack the previous day which had killed six people at an opposition Bangladesh Communist Party rally.
The strike had left life in Dhaka disrupted with most shops, private offices and businesses shut and most vehicles remained off the streets. After the strike ended at 6:00 p.m. (1200 GMT) life started to return to normal.
Home Minister Mohammad Nasim accused the opposition of trying to "embarass" the government in a bid to spoil its reelection prospects this year.
"The vested groups are again actively trying to destabilise the democratic environment and undermine the achievements of the government ... by indulging in destructive politics," he told reporters.
"Today's strike is one of many futile exercises of the opposition ... the people of the country did not get anything out of the strike," Nasim said.
The BNP staged a post-strike rally pledging to further gear up the anti-government campaign in the coming weeks.
The BNP leads a four-party opposition alliance, which called the strike after the ruling Awami League ignored their deadline to repeal the Public Safety Act, dubbed a "black law" by the strikers.
The law, enacted a year ago aims to establish fast track courts to try people accused of extortion, kidnapping, ransom and damaging vehicles.
The opposition accuses the government of using the law to harass its opponents, a charge the government denies.
The alliance includes the main faction of the Jatiya Party of jailed ex-president Hussain Muhammad Ershad, the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party and the extreme rightwing Islami Oikkya Jote.
Sheikh Hasina has refused to comply with the opposition's demand to call early elections or repeal the law and has still not set a polls date.
Under the constitution, she must resign by July at the end of her five-year term and hand over power to a neutral caretaker government whose main task will be to conduct elections within three months -- DHAKA (AFP)
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