Thursday, February 03, 2005

BANGLADESH: Explosions injure 20 in Dhaka

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Police and witnesses said unidentified activists threw petrol bombs and other devices on Wednesday night. At least nine passengers were injured when bombs hit two buses in the city, while sporadic blasts injured at least 10 others in Dhaka+

Explosions injure 20 in Dhaka

DHAKA, Bangladesh (Reuters) -- A series of small explosions rocked Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, injuring about 20 people overnight, ahead of an opposition-led general strike on Thursday.

Police and witnesses said unidentified activists threw petrol bombs and other devices on Wednesday night.

At least nine passengers were injured when bombs hit two buses in the city, while sporadic blasts injured at least 10 others in Dhaka.

Authorities deployed more than 5,000 police and other security forces in Dhaka on Thursday to try to prevent violence during the daylong strike, the latest in a series of opposition-led stoppages.

The main opposition Awami League party and its allies continued a countrywide protest against a grenade attack at a rally late last month, in which five people including a senior Awami leader and former finance minister were killed. (Full story)

Thursday's strike came as the Bangladesh government fumes over the postponement of a South Asian summit, due to start in Dhaka at the weekend.

The meeting of leaders from seven South Asian countries was shelved after India's prime minister pulled out because of a political crisis in Nepal and New Delhi's concerns about security in Bangladesh.

Dhaka rejected India's concerns as unacceptable.

Groups of opposition activists marched through largely empty streets in the usually teeming Bangladesh capital.

Police erected barbed wire barricades to contain the protests.

The Awami League staged three days of countrywide strike on January 29-31, and called for more stoppages next Saturday and Sunday -- working days in mainly Muslim Bangladesh.