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13 Die In Bangladesh Election Day Violence

  • VOA News

People look at burnt textbooks after a primary school which was supposed to be used as a polling booth was set on fire, in Feni, Bangladesh, Jan. 4, 2014.
Polls have closed in Bangladesh, capping a day of violence that swept across the country on election day.

Officials said at least 13 people were killed and more than 120 polling stations were set on fire during Sunday's parliamentary elections.

The Dhaka Tribune, in a report early Sunday, said a polling officer in the northern district of Thakurgaon was beaten to death at a polling center.

Tens of thousand of troops were deployed across the country in the lead-up to Sunday's elections, but their presence largely failed to stem the violence.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party urged voters to stay home from what it called a "farcical" election, enabling ruling Awami League candidates to sweep to victory as they ran unopposed in more than half of the country's constituencies.

International observers refused to send monitors to the elections.

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

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

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.