News / Asia

Protests Follow Bangladesh Opposition Leader's Execution

  • A man walks past vehicles that were set on fire by Jamaat-e-Islami party activists during clashes with police in Dhaka, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Jamaat-e-Islami party activists raise sticks as they approach police during a clash in Dhaka, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • A boy tries to control a fire after vehicles were torched and vandalized by Jamaat-e-Islami party activists during clashes with police in Dhaka, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • Police run during a clash with activists from Jamaat-E-Islami in Dhaka, Dec. 13, 2013.
  • A police vehicle uses colored water to put out flames after vehicles were torched and vandalized by Jamaat-e-Islami party activists during clashes with police in Dhaka, Dec. 13, 2013.
Protests in Dhaka After Opposition Leader Hanged
Anjana Pasricha
In Bangladesh, at least three people have been killed in protests which erupted after the execution of an opposition leader convicted of war crimes. The execution of 65-year-old Abdul Qader Mollah has raised fears of deepening strife in a country already coping with violent opposition-led protests ahead of elections next month.  
    
Warnings by the Jamaat-e-Islami party of “dire consequences” if its former leader was hanged began to play out within hours of the execution of Mollah.

He was executed Thursday night after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal for a review. A controversial war crimes tribunal had found him guilty of aiding Pakistani troops in killing hundreds of civilians and other crimes during Bangladesh's 1971 war of independence. His funeral took place in his home town of Faridpur early Friday.

Jamaat activists torched homes and businesses, blockaded roads, set fire to vehicles and attacked ruling party supporters in outlying towns and districts. Police say two Awami League supporters were hacked to death and one person died in clashes between police and protestors.  
 
Security has been beefed up in the capital Dhaka as the situation remains volatile.

A Dhaka resident, Mohammad Khokan, described an incident. He said the protesters came with boxes full of bombs and they wore helmets and started throwing handmade bombs on the street and ran away.   

Abdul Qader Mollah was the first of the five Islamist leaders who have been sentenced to death by the war crimes tribunal to be hanged. The convictions in connection with Bangladesh's liberation struggle more than four decades ago have prompted protests and counter protests.   

Many secular activists support the trials. Following the execution they held celebrations in the capital Dhaka and broke into cheers saying justice has been served.

But the opposition says the tribunal was set up by the ruling party to eliminate opposition leaders.

The controversial trials have deepened divisions between the main opposition party, an ally of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and the ruling party, which are already at loggerheads over the holding of elections next month.  

A professor of politics at Dhaka University, Ataur Rahman, says the political divide could jeopardize the polls.  

“It would be very difficult or well nigh impossible to hold elections in this kind of civil strife," Rahman said. "This government unfortunately could not make any sort of political accommodation with the (opposition) political parties so far. In terms of political reconciliation it could not succeed, it does not have any good record of political conflict resolution so far.”   

At least 100 people have died in violent protests in Bangladesh since October, but observers fear there could be more violence in the coming weeks.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down nearly three percent, while US market indexes were off around two percent in early trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs