Four shot dead in strike violence

Policeman among those killed as demonstrators clash
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The Independent Online

At least four people, including a policeman, were shot dead today in India in a clash between supporters and opponents of an anti-government general strike, witnesses and hospital sources said.

At least four people, including a policeman, were shot dead today in India in a clash between supporters and opponents of an anti-government general strike, witnesses and hospital sources said.

Gunshots were fired when supporters of the opposition alliance that organized the strike came face to face with anti-strike marchers belonging to the ruling Awami League in downtown Dhaka. It was unclear who fired the shots.

The dead included a policeman, a bystander and two activists belonging to the opposition, doctors at state-run Dhaka Medical Hospital said. Three other people were hospitalized with bullet injuries, they added.

Police in other downtown areas used tear gas and batons to disperse hundreds of opposition marchers, who exploded homemade bombs, burned tires and hurled stones, as news of the killings spread.

A four-party opposition alliance called a nationwide strike to protest the arrest of two alliance leaders and force the ouster of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government.

Most businesses, schools and private offices stayed shut and cars kept off the streets, fearing attacks by strike supporters.

Nearly 5,000 riot police and paramilitary troops were deployed today to patrol Dhaka, the national capital of nine million people.

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