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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid