Thousands of people have rallied across Bangladesh on Friday against general elections that are set for later this month.
The 14-party opposition Awami league led the protests. It is boycotting the January 22nd polls, accusing the interim government of favoring the former ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.
The alliance also has threatened to disrupt the voting. It accuses the electoral commission and the interim government of failing to implement electoral reforms.
Also on Friday, the U.S. embassy in the capital, Dhaka, urged authorities to act swiftly to create conditions under which all political parties can take part in upcoming elections.
In a separate development, a court in Bangladesh has asked former military leader Hussain Mohammad Ershad to surrender by January 17th following his conviction on charges of corruption. Ershad has been banned from running in the elections.