DHAKA (dpa) – Two opposition activists were shot dead Friday in clashes with police during a transport blockade called by Bangladesh’s opposition parties to demand an early election, police said.
The activists from the opposition Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami and its student wing Islami Chhatra Shibir were killed in Jessore in the south-west and Rajshahi district in the north as police fired in response to attacks by activists.
Officer Enamul Haque said a group of over 10 activists fired shots at a police van patrolling a highway in Jessore, 140 kilometres from capital Dhaka.
One activist died when police shot back, Haque said. He said the activists might have been trying to stop highway traffic in line with the transport blockade called by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, head of Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition.
Police fired shots after protesters threw bombs at police in Rajshahi, 290 kilometres north of Dhaka, leaving one activists of the Islami Chhatra Shibir dead and two others injured, said police officer Alamgir Hossain said.
Violence erupted in parts of Bangladesh after Zia called the nationwide blockade of roads, railways and waterways on January 5 after she was prevented from joining a rally in Dhaka on the first anniversary of a disputed election in 2014.
More than 800 vehicles were damaged after pro-blockade activists either firebombed or threw stones at cars.