Bangladesh makes 118 arrests in crackdown on opposition
DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh security forces arrested more than 100 protesters on Thursday as they launched a nationwide crackdown on the opposition ahead of the controversial Jan 5 general election.
Officials said the protesters were detained in joint operations by the police, the elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and paramilitary border guards amid a series of transport blockades called by opposition parties which are boycotting the polls.
The "joint forces" arrested 118 people, mostly activists from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its key ally Jamaat-e-Islami, in five districts where police had earlier clashed with demonstrators.
The BNP, Jamaat and their smaller allies have been staging protests since late October to try to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down so that a neutral caretaker government can oversee the election.