Opposition-led general strike paralyses Bangladesh

The Anarchives (tao@presence.lglobal.com)
Fri, 12 Jan 1996 17:09:04 +0000 (GMT)

^Opposition-led general strike paralyses Bangladesh@
DHAKA, Jan 8 (Reuter) - Bangladesh was virtually paralysed
on Monday when a 48-hour general strike called by opposition
parties took hold across the South Asian country, witnesses
No transport except rickshaws plied the streets. Trains
stood idle and most ferries stayed at anchor.
Airport officials said domestic and international flights
were likely to be cancelled or delayed.
Most Offices and businesses were closed. Ministers and
senior bureaucrats were escorted to work by police.
The country's main port of Chittagong was paralysed but the
other port at Mongla was partly operating, officials said.
Police said several bombs exploded in Dhaka early on Monday
but they had no reports of injuries or damage.
The three main opposition parties, led by the Awami League
of Sheikh Hasina, organised the strike in their latest effort to
force Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia to resign and let a
neutral caretaker administration supervise general elections.
Khaleda has rejected the opposition demands as
unconstitutional and denied charges her government rigged a 1994
parliamentary by-election and indulged in sweeping corruption.
Monday is the last day for registering for an election
scheduled for February 7, which the opposition has said it will
boycott and resist unless Khaleda steps down.
The opposition parties have led a rash of strikes, transport
shutdowns and demonstrations over the past two years, and the
protests have often turned violent.
They said the latest stoppage was mainly intended to prevent
candidates of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) from
applying to contest the polls.
BNP sources said their candidates had already submitted
applications, including five by Khaleda. In Bangladesh, one
candidate can stand in up to five constituencies.
BNP leaders said they had decided to participate in the
elections alone if no other parties took part.