World Bulletin / News Desk
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in Bangladesh on Thursday as a nationwide strike called to protest war crimes trials.
Some reports say defendants are already clear to be executed in 26 March 2013, despite repeated denials of govt, saying the trial has yet to conclude.
Over the last few months Jamaat activists and members of its student wing have launched protests in Dhaka and other cities, demanding an end to the trials.
The Jamaat-e-Islami party called the strike to protest the prosecution of its main leaders for charges during the 1971 war of independence against Pakistan.
(A pro-government supporter carries a bench to attack people whom they believe to be Jammat-e-Islami activists during a rally in Dhaka January 30, 2013.)
Clashes occurred in the capital Dhaka, where the protesters torched and damaged vehicles, and several other towns across the country. Many schools and private businesses were shut and inter-city motorways deserted.
The normally congested streets of Dhaka were largely empty. Security was tight as more than 10,000 policemen patrolled the roads and key flashpoints, police said.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) backed the strike, the seventh in the past two months, as two of its senior officials are also being tried for war crime charges.
Both Jamaat and the BNP called the charges false and the trials politically motivated. International rights groups have expressed concern over the fairness of the proceedings and shortcomings of the laws.
Last week a former television preacher was sentenced to death in absentia in the first ruling by the much-criticised war crimes tribunal. Verdicts against two Jamaat leaders are expected in early February.
Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British occupation in 1947 but it broke away from Pakistan in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces.
Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan.Last Mod: 31 Ocak 2013, 15:49