Baton-wielding policemen chased picketers in several areas of the city as the latter pelted stones on vehicles that defied the strike call.

The dawn-to-dusk countrywide hartal enforced by the opposition BNP in protest against the alleged eviction of its chairperson Khaleda Zia from her Dhaka cantonment residence saw sporadic violence with protesters attacking vehicles.

In the first major street protest against the 24-month-old Sheikh Hasina government, the opposition activists set fire to dozens of vehicles, including police vans. Police used batons and water cannons to disperse the mobs and arrested many demonstrators across the country.

BNP secretary-general Khandakar Delwar Hossain claimed that scores of party leaders and workers had been arrested. He said more stringent programmes would be enforced after id.

BNP announced the 12-hour hartal after Ms. Zia lost an appeal in the High Court against a government order to vacate her house. The court ordered her to vacate the house by November 12. Ms. Zia claimed at a press conference on Saturday law enforcers had virtually dragged her out of the residence, where she had lived for over 35 years.

Activists also blocked rail lines in many places causing disruption of train services.

The Inter Services Public Relations on Sunday reiterated its claim that the opposition leader was “neither evicted nor forced to leave” her Dhaka Cantonment residence. It also refuted the claim of the former Premier that her rooms were ransacked. The armed forces public relations also termed all the allegations she made at a press conference as “baseless, false, fabricated and motivated”.

The house, from where Ms. Zia led her party, is now under the control of the Dhaka Cantonment Board.


Khaleda Zia forced to vacate house November 13, 2010

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