AFP. 2 February 2002. 20 injured as police and activists clash in
Bangladesh strike.

DHAKA -- Twenty people were injured in Bangladesh Saturday as riot
police used tear gas in clashes with left-wing activists during a
nationwide general strike, witnesses said.

The violence erupted as police tried to stop around 100 leaders and
activists of an 11-party leftwing alliance, which called the half-day
strike to protest against rises in fuel and utility prices, from holding
a march outside their offices in Dhaka.

At least 35 people were arrested, including senior leader Rashida (EDS:
one name), the alliance said.

"The police did not allow us to come out of our offices and stopped our
people from coming to the offices from other parts of the city," said
Mujahedul Islam Selim, the chief of the Communist Party of Bangladesh.

Most shops, private offices and banks were shut during the strike. Some
transport services were also affected.

In December the government put up the price of all petroleum products by
between 10 and 20 percent, while utility prices were also raised.

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Barry Stoller

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