Two people have been killed in pre-election violence in Bangladesh, according to police, as clashes between armed rivals left dozens injured.
More than 100 people have been hurt in violence on the campaign trail since Monday, when candidates from the two major parties began campaigning ahead of the December 30 poll.
Police on Wednesday said two supporters from the Awami League, the ruling party headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died from injuries sustained in brawls with opposition rivals late on Tuesday.
Mobs armed with knives and batons faced off at a rally in Noakhali, a southern district, where a pro-government demonstrator was seriously injured.
“He died on the way to hospital. Some 30 to 35 people were also injured in the conflict,” Mahmud Nasir, the deputy district police chief told AFP news agency.
In central Faridpur district, another pro-government demonstrator was beaten to death by opposition supporters from the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), police said.
“He was rushed to hospital but declared dead by doctors on arrival,” Faridpurpolice chief Jakir Hossain Khan said.
Bangladesh’s 2014 election was also marred by political violence.
Hasina won the poll unchallenged after a boycott by the BNP, who said the vote was rigged.
The opposition decided to contest the elections later this month but says ruling party thugs have interfered with their campaign rallies.
It has already accused police of jailing hundreds of its activists in a pre-election sweep.
The BNP’s organising secretary, Ruhul Kuddus Taludker, was arrested Wednesday after a court ruled he could not contest the poll.
The party also blamed the police for the death of one of their campaigners in Dhaka, who fell to his death from a rooftop. Police denied the allegation.
Hasina, whose tenure has seen allegations of rights abuses and creeping authoritarianism, is seeking a record fourth term in office.
The newly-formed opposition alliance, Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front), led by renowned jurist Kamal Hossain, is challenging Hasina. BNP is part of the alliance.
Around 100 million voters have registered for the vote on December 30.