World News

15 Dead in Bangladesh Anti-Blasphemy Protests

Overnight clashes between crowds of protesters and police in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, have left at least 15 people dead and hundreds injured.

Police say protesters demanding new anti-blasphemy laws began pelting police with stones, late Sunday, and officers responded with rubber bullets. Local media say at least 15 crude bombs exploded near the ruling Awami League's headquarters.

Video showed blazes raging in the night sky with burned shops and dozens of vehicles set on fire as tens of thousands of protesters raged in the streets. Many of Dhaka's roads were blocked.

Officials say the protesters dispersed early Monday.

Protester demands from the newly formed Hifazat-e-Islam group come in response to what hardliners say is a group of local "atheist" Internet bloggers the protesters accuse of insulting Islam.

The group has authored a 13-point list of demands, including an end to what it calls "the godless education system," and new laws prohibiting the unrestrained public mixing of men and women. It also wants a ban on the construction of monuments and statues in the country and a curtailment of women's rights.

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