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Bangladesh Strike Violence Kills 2

April 10, 2001

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Associated Press Writer

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Supporters and opponents of a general strike calling for the resignation of Bangladesh’s prime minister fought with guns and homemade bombs on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 200.

The strike to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down closed schools and stores, and paralyzed traffic, in the capital Dhaka and 60 other cities and towns.

Two deaths were reported in the port city of Chittagong, some 135 miles south of the capital Dhaka, police officials said on condition of anonymity. And and unidentified man was killed in a bomb attack in the town of Munshiganj, near Dhaka.

More than 200 people were reported injured in daylong clashes in various cities and towns. None of the injuries was life-threatening, police said.

Police detained nearly 100 protesters in Dhaka, Chittagong, Munshiganj and Bogra on rioting charges.

The protests began in the early morning and were to end at dawn Thursday.

The opposition accuses Hasina’s government of corruption, incompetence and harassment of political opponents. Hasina denies the charges and vows to stay in power until her five-year term ends on July 13.

She had offered to resign in June and have a caretaker government hold elections, but withdrew the proposal when the opposition continued to call strikes, demanding she leave even earlier.

``We have a public mandate to govern the country for five years. We shall not resign even a day before that term ends,″ Information Minister Abu Sayeed told reporters on Monday.

Government offices remained open during the strike. Some 6,000 security forces were on duty in Dhaka and police detained at least 100 protesters in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Opposition members are boycotting the legislature. Lawmakers from the governing Awami League party drove to the parliament under tight security. In strikes last week, eight people died.

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