DHAKA, BANGLADESH (BNO NEWS) -- Two people were killed on Monday and several others were injured after protests in Bangladesh turned violent over an opposition politician who went missing last week, local media reported. A strike has been called for Thursday.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary M Ilias Ali disappeared on Tuesday last week along with his driver Ansar Ali, triggering a wave of protests across the South Asian country. A massive search for Ali is underway, but only his abandoned vehicle was lcoated near his house in the Banani area of Biswanath.
Hundreds of protesters took to the street of Biswanath on Monday to demand the safe release of Ali, who is originally from the town. A large group of demonstrators who were carrying homemade bombs, stones and bamboo sticks attacked a police station in the Sylhet district of Biswanath.
Biswanath Upazila Nirbahi Officer Kamal Hossain told the state-run Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) news agency that the violent protesters attacked the Upazila complex building, causing damage and destroying official papers inside seventeen government offices.
As a result of the violence, authorities deployed the Border Guard Bangladesh troops and the Rapid Action Battalion to get the situation under control. Official media reported that two men were killed in the clashes while more than 100 others, including at least five police officers, were injured.
Witnesses told the BSS news agency that protesters had opened fire at police officers and took away their weapons. In addition, several vehicles in Biswanath were set on fire before security forces retaliated with tear gas canisters and guns, BSS reported.
Protests and strikes also affected other districts of Bangladesh, including the capital city of Dhaka where protesters set a police bus on fire.
Also on Monday, Dhaka police detained BNP vice-president and former minister Selima Rahman along with fourteen other opposition activists, although it was not immediately clear why. The BNP has claimed that 371 of their leaders have been arrested across the country, fueling the outrage among its supporters.
BNP has called for a third straight nationwide strike for Tuesday.
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