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Fresh political violence grips Bangladesh; 1 dead

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 29, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

DHAKA — 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.

Hasina's rival, former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, was expected to address the rally later Sunday in defiance of a government ban on large political gatherings. Reports said authorities had detained hundreds of people in a crackdown ahead of next weekend's elections, further deepening the impoverished South Asian nation's political crisis.

Security officials surrounded Zia's home in Dhaka's upscale Gulshan area, where most foreign embassies are located, and parked sand-laden trucks in an apparent effort to obstruct Zia 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.

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