Clashes have erupted between Bangladeshi police and protesters over controversial trials of opposition politicians including leaders of the country’s Jamaat-e-Islami party.
On Monday, hundreds of people took to the streets in the capital Dhaka where they threw stones at security forces. In response, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the angry demonstrators.
Reports say home-made bombs exploded in central part of the city, where several people including protesters and security forces were injured.
According Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman, security forces arrested a leader of the country’s main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir during the rally.
A spate of violent clashes erupted in Bangladesh soon after the International Crimes Tribunal sentenced Delwar Hossain Sayedee, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, to death for committing crimes during the country’s war of independence against Pakistan in 1971.
On March 2, police fired dozens of shots at supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, who had gathered in Chittagong district, southeast of the capital, Dhaka, killing three of them.
On the same day, a young protester was also shot dead after security forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators in Nilphamari district, northwest of Dhaka.
Earlier this month, the tribunal sentenced Jamaat’s assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Molla to life in prison.
The verdict enraged the party’s supporters, who staged a number of protest rallies in central Dhaka.
The tribunal has been tainted by accusations and controversies that it targets only opposition figures with trumped-up charges, allegations that the government has denied.
Rights groups also say the court’s legal procedures fall short of international standards.