Bangladesh war crimes trials strike marked by clashes


Activists of the ruling party Bangladesh Awami league beat an activist of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (C) as they marched during a rally and vandalised vehicles in Dhaka on January 30, 2013. The Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk shutdown on Thursday demanding an end to the war crimes trial and release of their top leaders.



A strike has been called by Bangladesh's largest Islamist party over war crimes trials, which has caused clashes between protesters and police.

According to BBC News, police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse protesters.

The strike was called by the Jamaat-e-Islami (J-e-I) group in protest of war crimes trials in which many of its leaders are charged for alleged crimes related to the country's 1971 independence war.

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Clashes took place in Dhaka, where protesters were seen setting vehicles on fire, as well as other towns and cities across Bangladesh.

BBC correspondents have said the country has been brought to a standstill and that many schools and businesses have closed, leaving roads deserted. They also said there is concern over the country's political stability as the J-e-I threatened to increase its protests if the trials are not stopped.

The J-e-I denies its involvement in the war, noted Al Jazeera, although it did oppose Bangladesh's separation from Pakistan.

Earlier this month, Islamic cleric Abul Kalam Azad was sentenced to death in the war crimes trials' first verdict.

According to Bangladeshi government figures, the 1971 war killed 3 million people, and 200,000 women were raped.