Two people have been killed in pre-election violence in Bangladesh, police said yesterday, as early campaigning is marred by clashes between armed rivals that left scores injured. More than 100 people have been hurt in violence on the campaign trail since Monday, when candidates from the two major parties hit the hustings ahead of the Dec. 30 poll. Police said two supporters from the Awami League, the ruling party headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, died from injuries sustained in brawls with opposition rivals late Tuesday.
Mobs armed with knives and batons faced off at a rally in Noakhali, a southern district, where a pro-government demonstrator was seriously injured. "He died on the way to hospital. Some 30 to 35 people were also injured in the conflict," Mahmud Nasir, the deputy district police chief, told AFP. In central Faridpur district, another pro-government demonstrator was beaten to death by opposition supporters from the Bangladesh National Party, police said.
The 2014 election was also marked by political violence. Hasina won that poll unchallenged after the BNP boycotted it, saying the vote was rigged. The opposition decided to contest this election but says ruling party thugs had interfered with their campaign rallies.