12/02/2013, 00.00
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A 131 hour strike. Catholic activist : People victim of political conflict

by Sumon Corraya
For Rosaline Costa , coordinator of Hotline Bangladesh, the country " is at the mercy of the ego of politicians." She warns that the "climate has to change, otherwise the situation will get worse". Since January, 347 people have been killed in violent clashes between political factions . Most of them are innocent citizens.

Dhaka (AsiaNews ) - The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP , opposition) has decided to extend the hartal (general strike ) launched three days ago to protest the government of Sheikh Hasina by to 131. Meanwhile , the population of Bangladesh continues to suffer from the tense atmosphere generated by political conflict between the government ( Awami League ) and opposition (BNP and Jamaat-e- Islami , the Islamic fundamentalist party) . For Rosaline Costa (pictured) , coordinator of the Catholic Organization for Human Rights,Hotline Bangladesh , " the real problem is the ego of the country's political leaders. The population continue to be victims of the strikes, the climate must change, otherwise the situation will worsen in the future". "Our country needs peace. If the political parties would agree to talk to each other all the problems would be solved ."

On 29 November, the opposition launched a new 72-hour strike which after four days of clashes claimed the lives of at least 15 people. The aim of the protest is to convince the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to form a caretaker government ahead of general elections on 5 January 2014.

Today, police arrested Ruhul Kabir Rizvi , general secretary of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in Dhaka. The police also raided the office of the party and forcibly blocked several journalists from three private TV channels Samay TV, TV Ekattor and Gazi - TV , who arrived on the scene to report on the case .

According to Prothom Alo , the main daily newspaper of Bangladesh, at least 25 people were killed in clashes linked to politics this week. In 11 months, there have been 347victims of the hartal . Of these 95% are ordinary citizens who have nothing to do with politics.



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