Six die in Bangladesh street protests

Deaths follow arrest of Islamic clerics
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The Independent Online

At least six people were killed today during street protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh, against the arrest of Islamic clerics implicated in the mob slaying of a policeman last weekend, domestic news agencies reported.

At least six people were killed today during street protests in Dhaka, Bangladesh, against the arrest of Islamic clerics implicated in the mob slaying of a policeman last weekend, domestic news agencies reported.

The deaths follow a call by the country's top opposition alliance for a nationwide general strike on tomorrow to protest the Islamic clerics' arrest.

The four-party alliance at a meeting today also demanded the immediate release of the 67 people implicated in the case, including two leaders of radical Islamic groups. The alliance claimed the arrests were politically motivated.

Led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the alliance blamed the government for using the policeman's death to discredit the opposition.

Police arrested Azizul Huq, leader of Islamic Oikya Jote, and Fazlul Huq Amini, head of the Committee to Implement Islamic Laws, along with 65 of their followers for the policeman's murder last Saturday. The accused have denied the charge.

The Islamic Oikya Jote is part of the opposition alliance that has been campaigning to oust Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government.

Policeman Badsha Mia, a 48-year-old father of six, was killed Saturday after Islamic activists attacked a police patrol near a mosque at Dhaka's Mohammadpur area. The mob dragged Mia into the mosque and then beat him to death with wooden shoe racks.

At a protest meeting against the killing yesterday, governing Awami League politicians accused the clerics of using religion to create anarchy and said the opposition was supporting them.

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