(AFP) – Nov 11, 2008
DHAKA (AFP) — Bangladesh's interim government on Wednesday temporarily banned political rallies after violent demonstrations in the capital against the arrest of an Islamic party leader.
The ban came nine days after authorities relaxed a state of emergency, in place for almost two years, ahead of December 18 elections.
A statement issued by the army-backed government on Wednesday said the ban would last two weeks.
Police said processions and protests were "contrary to the country's emergency laws" and therefore punishable offences.
On Tuesday, police clashed with 3,000 supporters of the Islamic Jamaat-e-Islami party after their leader, Motiur Rahman Nizami, was arrested on corruption charges a day earlier.
The government last week lifted most emergency restrictions and withdrew thousands of troops from the streets after major political parties demanded rules be relaxed ahead of the elections.
The country's four-party Islamist alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced it would hold demonstrations across the country on Wednesday to protest the detention of three of its senior figures.
The parties say the arrests are aimed at keeping them out of the elections.
Bangladesh has been ruled by an army-backed government since January 2007, when a dispute over election fraud between the BNP and its main rival, the Awami League, led to widespread unrest.
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