Non-stop 36 hours shutdown enforced by Bangladesh's main opposition ended Wednesday evening. The shutdown, to press the government for electoral reforms, saw clashes between police and activists, and left over 200 people hurt.
Police fired tear gas, live bullets and charged baton during fight with activists of the main opposition Awami League-led 14- party combine. Activists used brickbats to fight back. The opposition activists also torched some vehicles and damaged many others in the capital.
The 14-party combine has demanded reform in the caretaker government system, which supervises the country's general elections.
The opposition parties said the man, who supposed to head the non-partisan caretaker government, is a ruling party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) supporter and the Election Commission is also run by the BNP men. As such, no election under them would be free and fair.
Unless there are reforms, they will not go to the polls in January next year and will not allow the government to hold the election, said the opposition parties.
The ruling party BNP leaders invited the opposition to sit around table and discuss the reforms. But the opposition leaders said they cannot sit with government committee, which includes a member of Jamaat-e-Islami party, a key partner of the four-party alliance government.
The opposition leaders alleged Jamaat cooperated with the Pakistani occupation forces during the country's liberation war in 1971.