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Bangladesh opposition figure charged over violent protests

October 29, 2023

Police charged more than 100 members from the opposition Bangladeshi National Party with the murder of a police officer. The arrest came a day after violent clashes broke out in the capital, Dhaka.

BNP's Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir speaks at a youth rally in Sylhet
Alamgir is the general secretary of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party Image: Rafayat Haque Khan/Zuma/picture alliance

Bangladeshi police have charged opposition leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and numerous top party members with the murder of a police officer who was killed at anti-government protests.

"At least 164 Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) including Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir were accused of murdering the police officer," police official Salahuddin Mia said late on Sunday.

Earlier, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Habibur Rahman confirmed that Alamgir had been "detained for interrogation." 

The charges relate to Saturday's violence, in which a police officer and a protester were killed and at least 26 police ambulances were torched or damaged.

People standing in front of a bus on fire in Dhaka.
An officer and a protester were killed in Saturday's clashesImage: Mohammad Ponir Hossain/REUTERS

The 75-year-old is the general secretary of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). He was picked up from his residence in capital city, Dhaka, opposition party official Shairul Kabir said.

Protest turns violent

The BNP announced a nationwide general strike on Sunday after calling off a mass demonstration against the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Violent clashes broke out during protests on Saturday, with more than 100,000 opposition supporters gathering in the capital. 

Protesters clashed with police in at least three places outside Dhaka as the strike began on Sunday, private broadcaster Channel 24 reported. Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse people in Comilla, Sylhet and Bogra districts. 

The BNP and its allies have been calling for Hasina's resignation. They want a power to be transferred to a non-partisan caretaker government to oversee upcoming general elections.

Alamgir has led the party since the arrest and imprisonment of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

Hasina, who is the daughter of the country's founding leader, has been in power for 15 years. Her administration is accused of detaining opposition figures and killing activists in extrajudicial encounters.

zc, tg/nm (dpa, AFP)