Dhaka, March 18 (IANS) Some 100 vehicles across Bangladesh were smashed or set on fire in the early hours of a non-stop 48 hour strike Monday demanding release of opposition activists detained in a police raid on their party headquarters.
In capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the South Asian country, where 'hartal' has become a very common form of protest in the recent months, scores of cocktail and handmade bombs were exploded, leaving dozens of people including law enforcers injured, Xinhua news agency reported.
Riot police shot rubber bullets and lobbed tear gas shells to disperse stone throwing pro-hartal activists who attempted to block roads and bring out procession along the major city streets, disrupting traffic.
Police detained dozens of opposition activists.
The hartal crippled normal life and business transactions to large extent with many main markets and educational institutions closed.
Over 1,000 trucks laden with cargo meant for ready-made garment export items were stranded on their way to Chittagong seaport, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka, a TV channel reported.
Private cars were hardly seen on Dhaka roads but a large number of rickshaws appeared in the usually bustling streets along with public transport.
At least 20 vehicles were also reportedly set on fire and 40 damaged fully or partially across Bangladesh in pre-hartal violence Sunday.
In an incident in Dhaka, three physicians were injured as miscreants hurled a bomb at their car Sunday night.
A total of 154 main opposition men including dozens of leaders, who were detained during a raid on their headquarters last Monday night, were sent to jail Tuesday in connection with two assault cases against them.
Police raided (BNP) headquarters less than an hour after the party announced countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal for Tuesday to protest at what it said government's corruption, misrule, oppression and "mass killings".
At least 76 people were killed and hundreds injured in the riots that erupted since a tribunal awarded death sentence to the Jamaat's Vice President Delwar Hosssain Sayeede for war crimes in 1971 Feb 28.
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