Bangladesh regime arrests 300 political opponents
At least 300 people have been arrested in Bangladesh as the army-backed interim government launched a crackdown on opposition political activists Sunday ahead of a planned move to relax the current state of emergency, dpa reported.
Opposition sources said the detainees were mostly grassroots activists including local leaders of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the country's two main opposition camps.
The nationwide crackdown was led by a joint force of the army, the elite rapid action battalion and the paramilitary border guards, officials said.
Senior police officials denied opposition claims that the month-long drive was directed against political workers.
"The campaign is targeted against listed criminals and extortionists," said Inspector General of Police Noor Muhammad.
The country's police chief also rejected the allegations that people were being arrested on political grounds.
A state of emergency was enforced in January 2007 at the height of political turmoil which pushed the country to the brink of a civil war.
The interim government hinted at withdrawing soon several provisions of the emergency rule permitting open political activities restricted for more than a year.