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Jamaat-e-Islami supporters are demanding a halt to war crimes trials for their leaders in Bangladesh

Jan 31, 2013


Police in Bangladesh have fired tear gas and rubber bullets as Islamist activists sought to enforce a national strike.

Clashes took place in the capital Dhaka - where protesters torched vehicles - and other towns and cities.

The strike has been called by the country's largest Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami, in protest at war crimes trials.

Correspondents say much of the country has been brought to a standstill.

Many schools and businesses are shut and motorways deserted.

Jamaat-e-Islami supporters are outraged that some of their leaders have been put on trial for war crimes allegedly committed during the 1971 independence war. They say the trials are politically motivated.

Local media reported several home-made bombs exploding in Dhaka on Thursday.

At Sanarpar, outside Dhaka, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at strikers who set light to a lorry, police chief Abdul Matin told AFP news agency.

Four protesters were arrested, he added.

The strike follows violent protests in Dhaka on Monday.

Bangladesh says more than three million people died when troops were sent to stop East Pakistan becoming independent in 1971.

Earlier this month, a special tribunal sentenced a former member of Jamaat-e-Islami to death in absentia.

Eleven others, nine of them Jamaat leaders, are facing trial.

All the defendants deny the charges and opposition leaders accuse the government of carrying out a political vendetta.
                                                         ( Source:




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