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18 Die In Bangladesh Election Day Violence

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Opposition protesters in Bangladesh firebombed polling stations and destroyed ballots for the country's parliamentary election as violence across the country left at least 18 people dead.

Polls closed Sunday with extremely low turnout, and officials say voting was halted at more than 150 polling stations due to attacks by activists.

Tens of thousands of troops were deployed across the country in the lead-up to Sunday's election, but their presence largely failed to stem the violence. Many of the dead were protesters fired on by police, however at least two of those killed were polling station workers.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party urged voters to boycott what it called a "farcical" election, enabling ruling Awami League candidates to sweep to victory as they ran unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.



International observers refused to send monitors for the election.

The opposition, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, had demanded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina step down and hand over power to an interim government to oversee the election. Sheikh Hasina refused, saying the traditional practice of doing so has led to political unrest.

The two women have dominated Bangladesh politics for the last two decades.

The opposition has called for a two-day nationwide strike, starting Monday, to protest the vote.

More than 150 people have died nationwide in recent political violence, most of them in the past two months.

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