Bangladeshi authorities say at least 15 people have been injured in skirmishes between opposition supporters and police in the capital, Dhaka, ahead of a planned nationwide strike.
The authorities say the clashes on Saturday started after police tried to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing supporters of the main opposition party, the Awami League. Witnesses say police used batons and tear gas against the activists. An opposition alliance led by the Awami League called the strike Sunday.
The opposition alliance has been waging a long campaign to protest against the alleged partisanship of the Election Commission. They have been demanding reforms in the Election Commission and the Caretaker Government which is to assume transitional power at least ninety days before the upcoming general election. The opposition has also been demanding the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner, M A Aziz and the cancellation of two new election commissioner who the opposition say are pro-government people. Meanwhile, security forces in northern Bangladesh seized a large cache of bomb-making material, including gunpowder, gel explosives, detonators, timers and electric switches. The cache was discovered following an interrogation of two suspected members of a banned Islamic group blamed for a series of deadly blasts.