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Dozens dead, thousands detained in Bangladesh political violence

By
Amy R. Connolly
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, president of Bangladesh's Awami League. More than 30 people have been killed and thousands arrested in political unrest in the country in the past weeks. Photo by United National Conference on Trade and Development/CC
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, president of Bangladesh's Awami League. More than 30 people have been killed and thousands arrested in political unrest in the country in the past weeks. Photo by United National Conference on Trade and Development/CC

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Bangladesh security forces are preparing for more violence after several weeks of unrest between the country's main political factions that have left 31 people dead and hundreds injured.

More than 7,000 people have been arrested in the country's worst political violence since the national election a year ago that saw Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina re-elected. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by Khaleda Zia, wants Hasina to step down. She has refused and denounced the opposition as militants.

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In the past weeks, there have been an increasing number of arson attacks on commuter buses that have left dozens injured. Rajib Karmokar told the Guardian he was traveling to college in Dhaka when his bus was hit by a bomb.

"People were panicked and everyone was trying to get out. I jumped out of the bus but by then I had already caught fire," he told the British newspaper.

Motorcyclists have been banned from carrying passengers to thwart drive-by bombings and some smartphone instant messaging services have been cut off in an effort to cut down on the anti-government protests.

Despite the continued turmoil, the British House of Commons said Bangladesh's economy continues to "perform remarkably well."

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