Scores hurt as Islamists take to Bangladesh streets over tribunal

Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:54am EST
 

By Anis Ahmed

DHAKA (Reuters) - At least 50 people including policemen were injured in Bangladesh on Monday as Islamist activists protested against the prosecution of their leaders on charges stemming from a war of independence 40 years ago, police and witnesses said.

Protesters set off crude explosives and threw bricks at police who tried to disperse them with teargas, batons and some shots in the air, witnesses said.

"The Islamists vandalized dozens of vehicles and set fire to two buses in Motijheel commercial area and other places in the city," a police officer said.

Islamist party spokesman were not available for comment.

Police detained about 20 activists, reporters on the scene said, and the disturbances disrupted traffic on city-centre roads. Similar protests broke out in the northern town of Rajshahi, Chittagong in the southeast and several other towns across the country.

Bangladesh became part of Pakistan at the end of British rule in 1947 but it broke away from Pakistan in 1971 after a war between Bangladeshi nationalists, who were backed by India, and Pakistani forces.

Some factions in Bangladesh opposed the break with Pakistan.

A Bangladeshi war crimes tribunal began work in mid-2011 to investigate some of the violence during the nine-month war when up to three million people were killed and thousands of women were raped.   Continued...

 
A minibus is set ablaze during a clash between Islamist activists and police in Dhaka January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer