Two dead after latest protests in Bangladesh
Police clashed with opposition supporters demanding that the Bangladesh government drop a plan to hold general elections on January 5 in the latest round of political violence in the country.
Police and TV stations said at least two people have died in the violence since late yesterday, when authorities announced the election date.
The protests come after weeks of political violence have left more than 30 people dead as the opposition led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia and the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have failed to resolve a dispute over a government to oversee the vote.
The opposition wants Ms Hasina to quit and form a caretaker government with people from outside political parties to oversee the vote. She has rejected that and earlier this month formed what she calls an all-party government to oversee the election.
Her new 29-member Cabinet includes members of her Awami League party and five other parties, all of them her allies. She called on Ms Zia to join the government and choose any ministry to lead during the campaign period. But Ms Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party has rejected it.
Today, opposition parties led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party begun enforcing a 48-hour nationwide road blockade called to denounce the decision to set an election date.
Ms Zia's party wants all road, railways and waterways blocked until Thursday to force the government to cancel its election plans.
A police official in eastern Comilla district, Mohiuddin Mahmud, said a protester died yesterday from injuries caused by a bomb blast.
Another man died today in the north-western district of Sirajganj, Somoy TV station said.
The South Asian nation of 160 million people has a history of political violence, including the assassinations of two presidents and 19 failed coup attempts since its independence from Pakistan in 1971.