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News ID: 28152
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 10:13 - 30 August 2018
TEHRAN, August 30 - Bangladesh's main opposition party, in disarray since its leader Khaleda Zia was jailed in February, received an unexpected boost this month - days of protests by tens of thousands of students that have shaken the government ahead of a December election.

Bangladesh protests stir opposition hopes of revival before pollTEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - What began as an outpouring of anger over the failings of an unregulated transport industry after a speeding bus killed two students in Dhaka, quickly escalated into the widest anti-government protests in the South Asian nation in years, providing a focus for discontent with what critics see as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's increasingly authoritarian rule.

"The government is trying to control everything," said Rabiul Alam, 28, who works in a curtain showroom in Dhaka. "There is no space, no freedom, no democracy. You can't even criticize the government on Facebook."

Alam, who is a voter in his hometown in Barishal, in southern Bangladesh, said he would vote for the first time this year - for Khaleda's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Analysts say such views are on the rise around the country.

The protests, which saw students directing traffic for days in the choked streets of Dhaka, demanding to check drivers' licences and vehicles' roadworthiness, have put Hasina and her ruling Awami League on the defensive in the run-up to an election she was widely expected to win.

The BNP says it was not involved in starting the protests, but is looking to capitalize on the opening they have been offered with rallies across the country aimed at pressuring the government to release its leader.

"The protest was spontaneous and non-political," said BNP secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. "The students have showed us the state is in need of repair."

The government has blamed the BNP for inciting the students.

Source: Reuters

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