Sporadic violence in Bangladesh

An angry mob set fire to a passenger train and protesters clashed with police across Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving dozens of people injured, as violence spread a day after a grenade attack on an opposition rally killed 19 people and wounded hundreds. The Subarna Express train was attacked as it was entering a station in the town of Bhairab, 50 miles east of its destination of Dhaka, the capital, said Mostafa-e-Jamail, a spokesman for state-run Bangladesh Railways. About 20 people were injured, most of them passengers trying to flee while protesters angry about Saturday's attack doused at least 15 of about 25 train cars with gas and ignited them, police said. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Clashes also were reported in six other towns in southern Bangladesh, injuring another 30 people, police said. More than 200 protesters were arrested in Chittagong, 140 miles southeast of Dhaka, on charges of violence, according to the private station NTV. The violence came amid anger over Saturday's attack outside the opposition Awami League party's headquarters in Dhaka, which allies claimed was an attempt to kill the party's leader Sheikh Hasina. "We demand the immediate arrest of those responsible," said Liakat Shikder, a student group leader, at a protest Sunday in Dhaka. Security was stepped up across the country, authorities said, with paramilitary troops and police patrolling the capital in full force. At least 19 people were killed and more than 300 wounded, including senior opposition members, when more than a dozen grenades were lobbed at Saturday's rally while Hasina was delivering a speech, informs ABC News. According to VOANews, violent protests have erupted across Bangladesh, a day after nearly 20 people were killed and more than a hundred wounded in grenade attacks on an opposition rally. Security has been tightened across the country. Angry mobs set fire to a train midway through its journey from the port city of Chittagong to the capital, Dhaka, after forcing some 600 passengers off the train. Riot police fired tear gas to disperse the protesters. Opposition party supporters also ransacked a railway station near Chittagong. In several other towns, officials reported clashes between police and protesters. Angry party workers have taken to the streets since Saturday evening, when several grenades were hurled at a packed opposition rally being addressed by former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed. She escaped unhurt, but many people were killed or wounded. General-secretary of the opposition Awami League party, Abdul Jalil says the protests will continue. "Our demand is the government should resign immediately. They should quit," he said. Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has strongly condemned Saturday's attack on the opposition rally, and promised an investigation. Paramilitary troops have been deployed in Dhaka, where tension is running high. Traffic was thin on Sunday, as many people stayed off the roads, fearing violence. The Washington Post publishes that No one claimed responsibility for the blasts, but the general secretary of the Awami League, Abdul Jalil, said the assailants were targeting Hasina, 57, the main opposition leader, who was Bangladesh's prime minister from 1996 to 2001. The Awami League has accused Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government of corruption, incompetence and harassment of political opponents. It has asked Zia to step down and call early elections. Zia's government rejects the allegations and has vowed to remain in power until its five-year term ends in 2006. Zia condemned the "dastardly attack on a political rally" and said her government will try to find those responsible. "Let us all work together to prevent repeat of such cowardly attacks," she said in a statement. Police gave few details, but one of Hasina's aides, Saber Hossain Chowdhury, said the first blast was followed by at least eight other explosions and numerous gunshots, and the car that carried Hasina away had several bullet marks in the rear glass. "It seemed to me that some of the bombs were thrown from multi-story buildings near the scene," said Farook Khan, an opposition lawmaker who was standing close to Hasina. Khan estimated that at least 15,000 people were at the rally when the explosions were set off. It had been called to protest a series of explosions this month that killed two people, including an opposition supporter, in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team