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Violence, Boycott Mar Bangladesh Elections

Bangladesh is voting amid heavy security in parliamentary elections boycotted by the main opposition. Sunday's vote is being marred by violence, including the scorching of more than 120 polling stations.

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, and that 10 others were wounded and hospitalized.

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

International observers have 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.

Tens of thousands of troops have been deployed across Bangladesh to stem the political violence.

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