Tens of thousands of troops are being deployed across Bangladesh to try to prevent potential political violence ahead of next month’s elections. This comes as main opposition leader Khaleda Zia has urged her supporters to stage nationwide protests. She says she will boycott the 5 January general elections unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quits and a neutral caretaker government is installed. Ms Hasina’s government has rejected the opposition’s demand. Caretaker governments previously oversaw elections, but Ms Hasina scrapped the arrangement in 2011.
Khaleda Zia (left) and Sheikh Hasina (right) have dominated Bangladeshi politics for more than two decades
Troops are being deployed in at least 59 of Bangladesh’s 64 districts, election commission spokesman SM Asaduzzaman told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
“They’ll be used as a striking force if there is any violence and they will patrol important areas, streets and highways,” he added.