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Bangladeshi Police Clash with Opposition Supporters Ahead of Nationwide Strike

Bangladeshi authorities say at least 15 people have been injured in skirmishes between opposition supporters and police in the capital, Dhaka, ahead of a planned nationwide strike.

The authorities say the clashes started after police tried to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing supporters of the main opposition party, the Awami League. According to witnesses, police used batons and tear gas against the activists.

A 14-party opposition alliance led by the Awami League of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina called the strike Sunday to press for the removal of the chief election commissioner who was accused of favoring the government.

The alliance has been waging a long campaign to force out Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government. But Mrs. Zia rejects opposition demands to step down, saying her government will complete its five-year term that expires in October 2006.

Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.