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Bangladesh Votes in Parliamentary Elections

Police officers carry ballot boxes to a polling center in Dhaka for parliamentary elections, Jan. 4, 2014.
Police officers carry ballot boxes to a polling center in Dhaka for parliamentary elections, Jan. 4, 2014.
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VOA News
Bangladesh is holding parliamentary elections Sunday, despite an opposition voter boycott and pre-election violence said to include arson attacks on 100 polling stations and injuries to at least 20 poll workers and police officers.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party is urging voters to stay home from what it called a "farcical" election, while ruling Awami League candidates run unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.

The Dhaka Tribune newspaper, in a report early Sunday, said a polling officer in the northern district of Thakurgaon was beaten to death hours earlier at a polling center and that 10 others were wounded and hospitalized.

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

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

Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed across Bangladesh to stem the political violence.

The United States, the European Union and the Commonwealth have refused to send observers to monitor the election.

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