Tuesday, February 08, 2005

BANGLADESH FLASH: Opposition calls for more strikes

+ "I call upon the people to observe a non-stop strike from 6 a.m. on Feb. 14 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 to hasten the fall of the government," Sheikh Hasina, chief of the main opposition party Awami League, told a news conference. +

08/02/2005

Opposition calls for more strikes in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Bangladeshi opposition parties, campaigning to oust the government and force early elections, on Tuesday called for more general strikes next week, after enforcing six days of shutdowns in the past two weeks.

The strikes, a common form of political protest in Bangladesh, disrupted transport, production and business, and have often been marred by clashes between activists and police.

"I call upon the people to observe a non-stop strike from 6 a.m. on Feb. 14 to 6 p.m. on Feb. 15 to hasten the fall of the government," Sheikh Hasina, chief of the main opposition party Awami League, told a news conference.

The opposition enforced six days of strikes over two weeks after five people, including a senior Awami leader and former finance minister, were killed in a grenade attack at a rally in the northeast on Jan. 27.

Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia immediately condemned the attack and vowed to punish the perpetrators, but Hasina, also a former premier, refused to accept Khaleda's pledge.

"Khaleda's government has failed to rule the country efficiently, ensure security and control price increases of food and other commodities. So, it must go now," Hasina said.

Hasina lost power in October 2001 after her Awami League was defeated by Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party in a largely free and fair parliamentary election. The next election is not due before October 2006.