Violent clashes erupted in Bangladesh on Sunday as opposition supporters took to the streets to protest against a January 5 general election which they are boycotting. The opposition says it will not take part in the vote unless an interim government oversees it and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps down. The boycott means more than half of 300 parliament seats will go uncontested, undermining the legitimacy of the election and making it highly unlikely it will do anything to restore stability in one of the world’s poorest countries. The leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Begum Khaleda Zia, called for a march on the capital, Dhaka, in defiance of a police ban to protest against what she calls the “farcical” election.
One person was killed as police opened fire to disperse protesters throwing stones and crude bombs in central Dhaka and a railway guard was killed in a blast at a city station, police said.
“The government is undemocratic and illegal. It should step down immediately,” former premier Khaleda told reporters in front of her home after being barred from attending the march. Dozens of police were deployed late on Saturday to stop her from leaving her house.
Full Article: Protests against Bangladesh election turn violent | Reuters.