Bangladesh ban rallies for a month in wake of violence

DHAKA(AFP) - Bangladesh on Sunday slapped a ban on rallies for a month in the wake of deadly protests by Islamists that left dozens of people killed earlier this month.

Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan told reporters the government "will not allow any parties to hold rallies in the next one month" in line with plans to curb political violence.

Mr Syed Ashraful Islam, deputy chief of the ruling Awami League party, said the ban would also help workers rebuild the coastal region, which was hit by a cyclone last week.

Mr Shamsuzzaman Dudu, spokesman for the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, insisted the ban had in fact been in place since the death of 22 people following a rally by an Islamist group earlier this month in Dhaka.

Cyclone Mahasen hit southern Bangladesh on Thursday, killing 17 people and damaging tens of thousands of mud and tin-built houses.