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Political Protests Shut Down Capital in Bangladesh - 2004-08-24

A two-day general strike called by the political opposition has shut down much of Bangladesh. The strike is the latest protest against a grenade attack on a political rally that killed 20 people and injured more than a hundred.

Businesses and markets shut down and there was virtually no traffic on the streets of the capital Dhaka as the strike got under way Tuesday.

Supporters of the opposition Awami League marched through the city shouting "Down with the government." Awami League supporters have staged violent protests across the country since a grenade attack at a party rally Saturday being addressed former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed. She escaped unhurt. The head of the Awami League's women's wing, Ivy Rahman, however, died from wounds she suffered in the blast.

Ms. Hasina's political secretary, Saber Hossain Chowdhury says the opposition is angry at the government's failure to protect politicians. "There is also a sense of absolute outrage at the manner in which the attack or the assassination was attempted."

The government is appealing to the opposition to cooperate with it in investigating the incident and preventing violence.