Bangladeshi police and main opposition Awami League (AL) supporters clashed here Saturday ahead of Sunday's opposition-sponsored countrywide hartal, leaving dozens wounded, private news agency UNB reported.
Witnesses said the law-enforcers used batons and fired several teargas shells to break up a pro-hartal procession near the AL head office at Bangabandhu Avenue in the afternoon. The clash erupted at around 4:30 pm and continued till 6:00 pm.
They said hundreds of helmeted police in full riot gear kept the Awami League office and surrounding areas cordoned off. "Being beaten, angry opposition activists pelted police with brickbats and burnt motor tires in the troubled areas," said a firsthand report.
The list of injured people includes policemen and press photographers who were on duty to cover the AL's pro-hartal rally and procession.
The clash ensued when AL workers led by Dhaka City AL Organizing Secretary Haji Selim tried to bring out a procession from the party office to drum up Sunday's dawn-to-dusk hartal. "As police intercepted, the clash broke out," says the spot report.
AL decided to hold a countrywide dawn-dusk hartal Sunday to protest the recent appointment of two election commissioners which was thought to be a government move.