DHAKA: Hundreds of supporters of Bangladesh's Jamaat-e-Islami party attacked police on Monday in a busy commercial district in the nation's capital, injuring at least fifty people including eight security officers, an official said.
Dhaka Metropolitan police official Abul Hossain said the activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami party beat police officers after their procession was challenged in Dhaka's Motijheel area. Police detained about 20 activists, reporters on the scene said, and the disturbances disrupted traffic on city-centre roads. Similar protests broke out in the northern town of Rajshahi and in Chittagong in the southeast.
The party has been demanding a halt to the trials of its top leaders facing charges of crimes against humanity involving the nation's 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
Bangladesh says that during the nine-month war, Pakistani troops, aided by their local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped about 200,000 women.
Hossain said several vehicles had either been set on fire or vandalised during Monday's clash. He said the activists also attacked pedestrians while throwing stones or pieces of bricks at the security officials.
The party is the key partner of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Her party and Jamaat-e-Islami also want the restoration of a caretaker government to oversee the next general elections, expected to be held by January. The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says no to their demands and argued that the scrapping of the caretaker government provision in 2011 was in line with a Supreme Court order.
The first verdict involving the 1971 war came on January 21 when a former party member was sentenced to death for crimes including genocide, murder, rape and arson. Hasina's vows to continue trying the suspects