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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 September 2005, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Bangladesh strike sparks clashes
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

Soldiers and a protester
Dozens of protesters clashed with police at several places
Police and protesters have clashed in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, amid a nationwide strike called by the main opposition Awami League party.

The one-day strike was called in protest against the recent rise in fuel prices and over a nationwide bombing campaign last month.

Three people were killed and more than 100 injured when about 400 bombs went off within an hour in August.

Opposition leaders said about 40 people were injured in Wednesday's clashes.


Outside the capital the strike passed generally peacefully, police said.

But in Dhaka, thousands of security officials guarded streets and key government installations.

Police put up barbed-wire barricades around the central office of the Awami League in efforts to prevent party activists from staging protests.

Bangladesh protester
A woman protester in Dhaka - the strike is the second this week

The streets in Dhaka were largely empty with only a handful of buses operating on some of the heavily protected roads.

School and shops were mostly closed with economic activities and normal life disrupted across the country due to the strike - the second such shutdown this week.

On Sunday, the country's main left group - the Communist Party of Bangladesh - also called a nationwide strike.

No one has claimed responsibility for the unprecedented bomb attacks that took place on 17 August.

Leaflets found at each blast site carried a call by militant group Jama'atul Mujahideen for the introduction of Islamic rule in Bangladesh.

Hundreds of members of the group have since been arrested, but police say the masterminds of the attack are still at large.

The government has also been under pressure from fuel price increases.

Officials have said the country's fragile economy is threatened by soaring global oil prices.

The government recently introduced a five-day week for civil servants to reduce costs.

Asia Media BANGLADESH: 50 hurt in clashes during hartal - 5 hrs ago
Daily Times Strike over bombs and price hike hits Bangladesh - 10 hrs ago
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