The Bangladeshi authorities are to deploy troops to help maintain order after transport blockades paralysed the country.
The Awami League, the main opposition party, and its allies have said that MA Aziz, the chief election commissioner, tried to influence elections, being organised by the country’s interim government in favour of the outgoing Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led (BNP) administration.
Thousands of opposition supporters chanting “Sack Aziz and save the country” demonstrated and blocked roads throughout the country, police said.
A mob enforcing the blockade smashed at least 11 buses at Savar, 40km west of Dhaka, the private UNB news agency reported.
The roads were empty and many offices and schools remained closed in Dhaka and other large cities. Deliveries to and from the country’s main port in southeastern Chittagong also remained suspended, and rail services were disrupted, officials said.
Meanwhile, the caretaker government has said it is working to try to end the deadlock.
|Police used batons on the protesters|
Fake voter list
The opposition has accused Aziz’s commission of drawing up a list that contains 10 million fake voters, and has said that fair elections cannot be held with him in place.
It has threatened to boycott the polls unless its demands, including his sacking, are met.
At least 25 people died in four days of clashes between rival party activists when the BNP-led government’s five-year mandate expired on October 27.
The clashes began when the opposition staged mass protests that led KM Hasan, a former supreme court judge, to decline to continue as head of a caretaker government in late October. The opposition accused him of being politically biased in favour of the BNP.
After talks between the BNP and the Awami League to find a compromise candidate broke down amid spiralling violence, Iajuddin Ahmed, the president, installed himself as head of the temporary administration on October 29.
The Awami League later called off its protests, saying it wanted to give the president time to show that he could be non-partisan.
On Saturday, however, it announced a resumption of protests and an indefinite nationwide road, rail and river blockade, and accused the president of failing to demonstrate his neutrality by not sacking Aziz.