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Fear stalks Bangladesh as voting begins

Published on Jan 5, 2014 11:40 AM
 
Security personnel unload ballot boxes from a truck at a polling centre ahead of parliamentary elections in Dhaka on Jan 4, 2014. Bangladesh voted on Sunday in a violence-plagued election that will end in certain victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the opposition boycotted the "farcical" contest. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DHAKA (AFP) - Bangladesh voted on Sunday in a violence-plagued election that will end in certain victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the opposition boycotted the "farcical" contest.

Around 150 people have been killed since the opposition launched a campaign against the election in October while more than a thousand opposition leaders and activists have been detained in a crackdown denounced by rights groups.

A huge security operation involving 50,000 troops has been mounted to ensure the eight hours of voting passes off smoothly after it began at 8am (10am Singapore time).

But after scores of arson attacks on polling stations and with the opposition trying to enforce a general strike, officials admit turnout could be worse than the previous low of 26 percent in a rigged 1996 election.

 
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