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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2006, 06:20 GMT
Bangladesh troops take to streets
Supporter of the opposition Awami League in Dhaka. File photo
Awami League supporters have held daily protests
Bangladesh's interim government has deployed army troops in the capital ahead of January's general elections.

Troops also took to streets in key locations around the country to maintain public order, officials said.

It comes after days of protests by the opposition, demanding changes they say are necessary for the elections to be free and fair.

The elections are due on 23 January, but the opposition Awami League has pledged more protests for Sunday.

The government "ordered deployment of army in aid of the civil administration to protect public life and property," the interior ministry said in the late-night statement.

The announcement came after the opposition Awami League and its allies held several nationwide blockades in recent weeks to demand election reforms.

The opposition says the list of people entitled to vote is out of date and that some members of the election commission are biased towards the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Postponement

The most recent nationwide blockade of roads and railways in Bangladesh was suspended last Monday after two days of disruption.

Last week, the electoral commission said the vote originally set for 21 January - would be delayed by two days because of continuing political turmoil.

Khaleda Zia ended her five-year tenure as prime minister on 28 October, handing power to a caretaker administration headed by President Iajuddin Ahmed.

At least 44 people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes across the country since her tenure expired.

Under the Bangladeshi constitution, a caretaker government must hold elections within 90 days of taking power.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Bangladesh army deployed to maintain public order



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