Bangladesh Hit by General Strike on Eve of Polls
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Bangladesh's opposition began enforcing a 48-hour general strike on Saturday, on the eve of elections as its leader remained confined to her home.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, which is boycotting Sunday's polls, called the strike in a final bid to torpedo a contest which is already sure to be won by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League.
The strike comes after BNP leader Khaleda Zia issued an appeal to voters to also "completely boycott" what she called "a scandalous farce" and accused the government of placing her under house arrest.
The vote build-up has been dominated by violence, with election-related unrest killing around 150 people since the date was set in October, AFP reported.
Observers fear the contest will spur new unrest after Bangladesh endured its bloodiest 12 months since the brutal 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
The main headline in Saturday's Dhaka Tribune read: "Tension, fear mark build-up to the polls" while all newspapers carried pictures of the latest victims of the violence, many of them with horrific burns.
Although the government has officially denied Zia has been detained, aides say she has been barred from leaving her Dhaka home for nearly a week.
Dozens of riot police could be seen outside her home Saturday, along with water-cannon and sand trucks, preventing anyone from crossing through barriers.