Clashes between supporters of rival political groups have left at least two people dead and dozens of others wounded in several towns across Bangladesh since the campaign season for the December 30 general elections began on Monday, December 10. Notably, according to police on Wednesday, December 12, supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) killed two Awami League campaigners outside Dhaka on Tuesday night (local time). The unrest follows a crackdown on the BNP recent weeks.
Additional political rallies and protests are likely across the country in the coming weeks ahead of the December 30 vote, along with large crowds, transportation and business disruptions, and a heightened security presence. Violence cannot be ruled out.
Bangladesh will hold general elections on December 30. The 2018 election will largely pit the ruling Awami League, led by three-term Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, against an opposition coalition dominated by the BNP. On December 9, the BNP accused the government of political suppression, stating that police had arrested nearly 2000 organizers and supporters along with 11 candidates. The BNP also blames the courts of interfering with the election by sentencing BNP leader Khaleda Zia and her son, Tarique Rahman, to prison. During the last general elections in 2014, the BNP boycotted the vote, claiming that the elections were rigged.
Political rallies in Bangladesh often result in violence and unrest and can cause widespread transportation and business disruptions. Work stoppages, official and unofficial roadblocks, and large crowds are possible near such rallies.
Individuals in Bangladesh in the coming weeks leading up to the December 30 election are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all political rallies and public demonstrations due to the risk of violence, refrain from discussing political topics in public, and anticipate large public demonstrations and associated disruptions, including a heightened security presence, road closures, and transportation and business disruptions.
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