DHAKA, Bangladesh — Security forces and opposition activists clashed in Bangladesh’s capital on Sunday, leaving at least one person dead, as thousands of police took to the streets to foil a mass rally calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to cancel upcoming elections.
Reports said authorities had detained hundreds of people in a crackdown ahead of next weekend’s elections, deepening the impoverished South Asian nation’s political crisis.
Hasina’s political rival, Khaleda Zia, a former prime minister and the current opposition leader, had hoped to address the rally in defiance of a government ban on large political gatherings.
But security officials surrounded Zia’s home in Dhaka’s upscale Gulshan area and parked sand-laden trucks in an apparent effort to obstruct her from leaving her home. Police denied that the measures were taken to stop her from joining the rally.
Zia attempted to come out of her home, but police built a barricade that prevented her from getting to her car. TV video showed an angry Zia condemning Hasina’s government, saying, ‘‘Stop this.’’
Meanwhile, thousands of security forces, mainly police, tried to prevent the activists from rallying.
A 21-year-old student was killed in Dhaka’s Malibagh area when security officials fired rubber bullets to disperse the activists, said police official Mozammel Haque. Witnesses said the violence broke out after activists from the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party began marching in the streets.
Stick-wielding supporters of the ruling party chased stone-throwing opposition activists on the premises of the Supreme Court. Witnesses said dozens were injured