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Bangladesh Opposition Ends Strike

November 10, 1999

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ Children returned to school Wednesday, businesses reopened and traffic again clogged the streets after the end of a three-day antigovernment strike that left three people dead and hundreds injured.

But the return to normalcy could prove short-lived.

The alliance of four parties opposing the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina announced they would hold demonstrations in towns and cities across the country to drum up support for a large gathering planned for Nov. 14 in the capital, Dhaka.

``We will go for a tougher action until the government steps down,″ Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan, a spokesman for the opposition alliance, told reporters Tuesday, after the 24th anti-government strike this year.

The opposition alliance, led by Hasina’s predecessor, Khaleda Zia, is trying to pressure the prime minister into resigning and calling early elections.

Zia has accused Hasina of corruption, incompetence and authoritarianism. Hasina denies the allegations and refuses to quit.

In a speech in parliament Tuesday, the prime minister repeated her offer of talks with Zia. But Shamsul Islam, a top leader of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that ``the offer has come too late.″

Hasina joined politics a few years after her father and Bangladesh’s first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was assassinated in a military coup in 1975.

Zia took over the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in 1981 after another military coup killed her husband, military commander-turned-president Ziaur Rahman.

In 1996, Hasina staged a series of strikes to force Zia to resign and hold elections. Hasina’s Awami League party then swept into power.

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