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Archive for Thursday, August 23, 2007

Curfew imposed as protests spread

August 23, 2007

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— The military-backed government imposed an indefinite curfew in six major cities Wednesday, clearing the streets and temporarily shutting down cell phones in a bid to quell three days of unrest by students demanding an end to emergency rule.

Police with loudspeakers urged residents to stay home as the curfew came into effect at 8 p.m. Security forces patrolled the deserted streets.

"This is a temporary measure. The curfew will be lifted as soon as the situation improves," Bangladesh's interim head of government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, said in a brief televised speech.

The curfew order came after students took their protests from university campuses to the streets of the capital, burning cars and buses and battling security forces. Students also clashed with police in three other cities.

The emergency rule was imposed in January when President Iajuddin Ahmed canceled scheduled elections, outlawed demonstrations, curtailed press freedoms and limited other civil liberties.

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