Bangladesh opposition stages mass hunger strike
Dhaka, May 21 (IANS) An alliance of 18 political parties in Bangladesh Sunday staged a seven-hour mass hunger strike to protest against the government's "oppressive policies".
Thousands of political activists, members of various organisations and professional bodies joined the strike at 10 a.m. in Dhaka. leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Begum Khaleda Zia also took part, Xinhua reported.
BNP spokesman Nazrul Islam Khan said the opposition alliance is staging the strike to press home its demand for tracing disappeared BNP leader Elias Ali, release of recently detained 33 top opposition leaders and reinstatement of the caretaker government system.
Banners printed with portraits of BNP's founder Ziaur Rahman and current chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia have been hung around the hunger strike venue near Dhaka's lush green Ramna park, where a huge contingent of law enforcers have been deployed.
The parliament had abolished the non-party caretaker government system in June last year, which means the Awami league-led government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will stay in power during the next elections scheduled for early 2014.
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