Hundreds injured after Bangladesh police clash with opposition protesters | News

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Officials say they were forced into action after demonstrators suddenly attacked them as they tried to break through a barricade.

Police in northeastern Bangladesh used batons and tear gas to disperse opposition protesters amid a political dispute over who will preside over the next election.

About 300 people were injured in the clash on Saturday night, including some live fire, the country’s leading Bengali newspaper Prothom Alo reported on Sunday.

The United News of Bangladesh agency reported that up to 150 people including police officers were injured in the violence, which took place in the town of Habiganj.

GK Gaus, a local leader in the Bangladesh Nationalist Opposition Party (BNP), said chaos broke out after thousands of supporters began marching through the streets. The police confronted them and ordered them to stop.

Palash Ranjan Dey, a police officer in Habiganj district, said the police had to act after opposition activists suddenly attacked them while trying to break a police barricade.

The BNP – led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia – has been calling for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and hand over power to a non-party caretaker government until the next general election in January.

Zia’s party and its allies accuse Hasina of fixing votes in 2018, and the party has been arguing over who should oversee the next general election.

Hasina has said she hopes to return to power for a fourth consecutive term and says the election should be held under her government’s leadership as stipulated in the constitution.

The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations have been urging all sides to avoid violence and work towards a credible election.

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