Dozens hurt as Bangladesh's Khaleda Zia evicted

Activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party argue with police about the eviction of Khaleda Zia, Dhaka, 13 November 2010 Supporters of Khaleda Zia in Dhaka express anger at her eviction

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Dozens of people have been injured in clashes between police and protesters in Bangladesh.

The protests were sparked by the eviction of opposition leader Khaleda Zia from the home she has lived in for some 30 years.

Meanwhile at least three people were killed in an apparent suicide bombing at the house of a ruling party MP in western Bangladesh.

Police have not said whether they think the protests and bombing are linked.

The High Court had given Ms Zia, the leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, until Friday to leave her house, inside a military compound in Dhaka.

The residence has been leased to her since 1982 but the government cancelled it last year, claiming it was illegal.

Anger on streets

On Saturday, hundreds of opposition supporters tried to enter the compound to prevent Ms Zia's eviction, clashing with security forces who had cordoned off her house.

Analysis

A tearful Khaleda Zia reached her party office in the upmarket Gulshan area after she was forced to leave the military-owned house she has lived in for some 30 years.

The residence on a sprawling compound was leased to Ms Zia a year after her husband, former president, Gen Zia-ur-Rahman, was assassinated in a coup in 1981.

The lease was cancelled last year by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The BNP has called for a dawn to dusk strike on Sunday in protest against the move by the government. It will be the first major strike by the opposition party in recent months.

The BNP has been on the back foot for the past few months as it has had no strong issues on which to tackle the government. But people here are worried that the latest incident may revive the bitter rivalry between the two women leaders known as "battling Begums", leading to more protests in the coming weeks.

Ms Zia told reporters she had been humiliated, that security forces had broken her front door and dragged her out of her home.

"They entered my bedroom and ransacked all the furniture," she said. "They even beat my personal staff."

Armed forces spokesman Shahinul Islam said the opposition leader left the house on her own, in accordance with the court order.

There were also confrontations in other parts of the city. Police say at least 50 people were injured in clashes across Dhaka and about 20 people were arrested.

"They became violent, threw rocks at policemen and damaged many cars," said deputy police commissioner Abdul Baten. "We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the activists."

Other towns also saw protests and violence. Local reports suggest around 50 people were injured in Serajganj, 150km (95 miles) north-west of Dhaka.

In western Bangladesh, police say at least three people died in a bomb explosion near Khustia, 300km (190 miles) west of the capital.

The bomb went off in the house of Afaz Uddin, an MP for the ruling Awami League party, who was among five people injured in the explosion.

Police say they believe one of the three people killed was the carrier, but they are not sure whether it was a planned suicide attack targeting the lawmaker or whether the device went off accidentally.

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