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Candidates file papers for polls in Bangladesh; clashes reported

Candidates file papers for polls in Bangladesh; clashes reported

Hundreds of prospective candidates rushed to meet the filing deadline yesterday to contest Bangladesh's national elections next month, as rival political factions engaged in sporadic street clashes.
Candidates or their representatives, escorted by bands of cheering supporters, marched to election offices around the country yesterday, the last date to become a candidate for one of 300 parliamentary seats in the Jauary. 22 polls.
The balloting had faced boycott threats from a major political alliance over demands for electoral reforms, including changes in the Election Commission and poll date.
But on Sunday, the 14-party alliance led by the Awami League decided to participate after the country's interim government met most of the group's demands following weeks of often-violent street protests. The Awami League's main rival, a four-party coalition led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, opposed the changes.
Yesterday, police in the capital had to use tear gas to break up a street fight between supporters of rival candidates who came to file their nomination papers, the ATN Bangla television said.
The rival supporters hurled stones, blasted crude tin-pot bombs and set fire to vehicles when they came face to face in downtown Dhaka. More than a dozen people were injured, ATN Bangla said.
In northern Natore district, at least 10 people were injured when rival political groups fired at each other while on their way to submit nominations. Security forces were patrolling Netrakona town after activists set fire to vehicles and roadside shops there, the network said.
Meanwhile, 13 left-leaning parties agreed to stay in the Awami League-led alliance despite their earlier objection to a deal it forged with an Islamic party that wants to legalize religious edicts.


Updated : 2021-04-17 09:41 GMT+08:00