Violence, boycott mar elections in Bangladesh

Sun Jan 05 2014, 12:19 hrs
Many Bangladeshis stayed away from polling stations in Sunday's general elections, marred by an opposition boycott and relentless violence that threatens to deepen the crisis in the South Asian nation. (Reuters)
Many Bangladeshis stayed away from polling stations in Sunday's general elections, marred by an opposition boycott and relentless violence that threatens to deepen the crisis in the South Asian nation. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's refusal to heed opposition demands to step down and appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election led to the boycott, undermining the legitimacy of the vote. Opposition activists responded with attacks, strikes and transportation blockades in unrest that killed at least 275 people in 2013. (Reuters)
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's refusal to heed opposition demands to step down and appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election led to the boycott, undermining the legitimacy of the vote. Opposition activists responded with attacks, strikes and transportation blockades in unrest that killed at least 275 people in 2013. (Reuters)
“We never expected such an election. For such a situation both the government and opposition are responsible. They don't want to establish democracy,'' said Aminul Islam, a Dhaka resident who refused to vote. (Reuters)
“We never expected such an election. For such a situation both the government and opposition are responsible. They don't want to establish democracy,'' said Aminul Islam, a Dhaka resident who refused to vote. (Reuters)
Police opened fire to stop protesters from seizing a polling center in northern Rangpur district, killing two people. In a similar incident in neighboring Nilphamari district, police fired into about two dozens of protesters, leaving one person dead. A soldier holds his weapon while patrolling a street near a polling centre during parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)
Police opened fire to stop protesters from seizing a polling center in northern Rangpur district, killing two people. In a similar incident in neighboring Nilphamari district, police fired into about two dozens of protesters, leaving one person dead.
A soldier holds his weapon while patrolling a street near a polling centre during parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)
Police gave no further details, but Dhaka's Daily Star newspaper said the three men belonged to the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party. Elsewhere, police said suspected opposition activists stabbed to death a polling official, and local media reported that attackers torched more than 127 school buildings across the country in overnight attacks. The buildings were to be used as polling stations. Soldiers patrol along a street near a polling booth during the parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)
Police gave no further details, but Dhaka's Daily Star newspaper said the three men belonged to the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party. Elsewhere, police said suspected opposition activists stabbed to death a polling official, and local media reported that attackers torched more than 127 school buildings across the country in overnight attacks. The buildings were to be used as polling stations.
Soldiers patrol along a street near a polling booth during the parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)
The voting began at 8 a.m. but local television stations showed mostly empty polling stations, still wrapped in early morning winter fog. (AP)
The voting began at 8 a.m. but local television stations showed mostly empty polling stations, still wrapped in early morning winter fog. (AP)
By midmorning, polling was suspended in at least 120 centers because of attacks, burning of ballots and election materials, an election official said on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to reporters. (Reuters)
By midmorning, polling was suspended in at least 120 centers because of attacks, burning of ballots and election materials, an election official said on condition of anonymity as he was not allowed to speak to reporters. (Reuters)
At a polling station in Dhaka's Mirpur district, only 25 out of 24,000 registered voters cast their ballot in the first two hours, with polling officials saying fear of violence and absence of any strong opposition kept people away. (Reuters)
At a polling station in Dhaka's Mirpur district, only 25 out of 24,000 registered voters cast their ballot in the first two hours, with polling officials saying fear of violence and absence of any strong opposition kept people away. (Reuters)
The chaos could exacerbate economic woes in this deeply impoverished country of 160 million and lead to radicalization in a strategic pocket of South Asia, analysts say. Bangladeshi security officials stand guard as a woman leaves a polling station after casting her vote in Dhaka. (AP)
The chaos could exacerbate economic woes in this deeply impoverished country of 160 million and lead to radicalization in a strategic pocket of South Asia, analysts say.
Bangladeshi security officials stand guard as a woman leaves a polling station after casting her vote in Dhaka. (AP)
Bangladesh has a grim history of political violence, including the assassinations of two presidents and 19 failed coup attempts since its independence from Pakistan in 1971. (Reuters)
Bangladesh has a grim history of political violence, including the assassinations of two presidents and 19 failed coup attempts since its independence from Pakistan in 1971. (Reuters)
The European Union, the United States and the British Commonwealth said they would not send observers for the election. U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that Washington was disappointed that the major political parties have not reached a consensus on a way to hold free, fair and credible elections. Soldiers patrol a street near a polling centre during parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)
The European Union, the United States and the British Commonwealth said they would not send observers for the election. U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that Washington was disappointed that the major political parties have not reached a consensus on a way to hold free, fair and credible elections.
Soldiers patrol a street near a polling centre during parliamentary elections in Dhaka. (Reuters)

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