Bomb blasts rock opposition rally in Bangladesh

Saturday, August 21st 2004, 9:57 am
By: News On 6

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) _ A series of bombs exploded at a rally where the top opposition leader was speaking in Bangladesh's capital Saturday, killing at least 10 people and injuring hundreds, witnesses and news reports said.

Opposition leader Sheikh Hasina was addressing the rally from atop a truck outside the headquarters of her Awami League party in central Dhaka when the blasts went off. She was unhurt, her party said.

At least 10 people were killed and more than 300 were injured, including senior opposition members, private TV station ATN Bangla reported.

The death toll could increase as some of the injured were in critical condition, hospital doctors said.

No one claimed responsibility for the blasts. The rally was called to protest a series of bomb blasts early this month that killed two people, including an opposition supporter, in the northeastern city of Sylhet.

After Saturday's blast, an Associated Press photographer said he saw two unexploded grenades lying near the scene.

Witnesses reported seeing many people being taken to hospitals.

``People were covered with blood, many injured were crying for help,'' said Mohamamd Yasin, a rickshaw driver near the scene of the blasts.

Angry opposition supporters smashed or burned dozens of passing vehicles to protest the attack. Police fired tear gas to disperse the rampaging crowd, witnesses said.

Police and paramilitary troops patrolled the streets in central Dhaka as protesters took to the streets shouting anti-government slogans.