DHAKA - At least 34 people have died in Bangladesh and scores have been injured, most of them in firebomb attacks, amid rising political unrest fueled by a stand-off between Prime Minister Sheik Hasina and the main opposition leader.
The renewed political turmoil could cause a delay in shipments by the country's $24-billion garment industry, already under pressure after a string of fatal accidents.
Begum Khaleda Zia, whose opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the election on Jan. 5 last year, has demanded that Hasina and her government step down for a new vote under a caretaker administration.
Hasina has refused, instead tightening her grip by arresting key opposition leaders and clamping down on critical media as anti-government protests spread. The violence has worsened sharply since Jan. 5, the first anniversary of the vote.
Police said at least 25 people have died in arson attacks, including two on Friday. Eight more were killed in clashes with police, and one died following injuries from a crude bomb blast, they added.
At least 50 people were injured, some critically, after opposition activists firebombed several vehicles in the capital, Dhaka, and surrounding districts, police and witnesses said.
In Dhaka, at least 29 people suffered burns after attackers hurled petrol bombs at a bus, police said.