Bangladesh Halts Transports ahead of Rally
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Police have detained hundreds of opposition supporters in Bangladesh, authorities said, in an effort to stop protesters reaching the country's capital a day before a mass anti-government march.
The move came after opposition leader Khaleda Zia vowed on Friday to go ahead with a demonstration planned for Sunday despite a police ban on protests ahead of January 5 elections.
Al Jazeera's Tanvir Chowdhury reported from Bangladesh on Saturday that the country's security forces had rounded up passengers on buses, trains and ferries, and that many of them told local television stations that they had no connection to the scheduled opposition rally.
Police officers told AFP that more than 750 people have been arrested after raids on houses and trains over the past two days in a nationwide crackdown on opposition supporters.
Police made the arrests "to prevent acts of violence and sabotages" ahead of the opposition rallies, Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.
Local media reported that the detainees were harassed and intimidated by the police, Chowdhury said.
Dhaka-bound public transports have been halted as operators suspended their services following orders from the government.
The opposition, which is boycotting the elections, has said that up to a million people would descend on the capital in Sunday's protest aimed at forcing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to call off the polls.