2 killed in Bangladesh in fresh clashes over war crimes trials

Two people were killed in continuing violence in Bangladesh Satuday as supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami party clashed with police, while thousands of anti-Islamist protestors vowed to carry on their street campaign demanding death penalty for radical leaders being tried for alleged war crimes.

Saturday's violence came after four people were killed and over 200 injured Friday as hundreds of Islamists clashed with police here and in other major cities demanding execution of "atheist bloggers" they accused of blasphemy.

"We will carry on our movement until war criminals including Abdul Quader Mollah are sent to the gallows," a leading organiser of the Shahbagh protestors said, with thousands repeating his words while taking an oath.

Witnesses said over 20,000 young professionals and students shouted "death to the killers" as they rallied at Dhaka's Rayerbazar ground, where many were hacked to death by Bengali-speaking collaborators of Pakistani troops just ahead of the 1971 war victory.

The protest came a day ahead of the Jamaat's planned nationwide general strike backed by their ally, main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) to halt the trial of the Jamaat leaders on war crime charges.

Identical demonstrations were staged across the country while the protesters urged the people to reject the hartal called by the Jamaat and like-minded groups Sunday as part of their "evil campaign" portraying the youngsters as "atheists or anti-Islam".

Earlier this month, a tribunal convicted Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah of mass killings during the war and sentenced him to life in prison.

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