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

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora