Oct 25 2013, 6:58pm CDT | by IANS
Dhaka, Oct 26 — Six protesters were claimed to be dead while 500 others were injured when Bangladesh's anti-government protesters and their ruling party rivals fought pitched battles for hours across the South Asian country Friday.
"Our six people were killed in attacks by police and ruling party men in three Bangladesh districts including Chandpur, Cox's Bazaar and Nilphamari," Xinhua quoted Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, senior spokesman of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), as saying.
Hundreds of other leaders and activities were detained across the country, he said, adding, "500 leaders and activists were injured".
Police and the ruling party spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment.
Handmade bombs were exploded in some places and dozens of vehicles were torched and vandalised in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.
Incidents of clash, arson, vandalism, chase and counter-chase were reported in many Bangladesh districts since Friday morning.
Police reportedly fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse stone-throwing protesters.
Scores of people including policemen and ruling party men were also injured in clashes in major cities and towns.
Former prime minister Khaleda Zia's BNP-led 18-party had earlier said that Oct 25 is the last day of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government and asked its leaders and activists to take to the streets on the very day to press home its demand for the restoration of the non-party caretaker government system.
The usually busy streets of the national capital looked almost deserted as panic has gripped the people in the city. Thousands of anti-riot police and ruling party men were in the streets of the national capital.
Hasina's Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party has blamed the main opposition party for creating anarchic situation in the country in the name of political activities and urged the opposition leader to withdraw the three-day hartal call and sit for dialogue to form an all-party polls-time government.
The parliament is due to expire on Jan. 24 next year and elections should be held within 90 days before its expiry.
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