Bangladesh’s main opposition party starts a 48-hour general strike ahead of Sunday’s election

Bangladesh’s main opposition party on Saturday started a 48-hour general strike on the eve of a general election, calling on people to boycott the vote because it says the government of incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina can’t guarantee its fairness. Hasina is seeking to return to power for a fourth consecutive term. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former premier Khaleda Zia, has vowed to disrupt the election through the strike and boycott.

Campaigning in the nation of 169 million people has been marred by violence, with at least 15 people killed since October. At least 18 arson attacks were reported across the country between Friday midnight and Saturday night, Talha Bin Jasim, an official with the Media Cell of the Fire Service and Civil Defense in Dhaka, told The Associated Press by phone.

At least 10 of the attacks targeted polling stations, he said, with police calling them acts of sabotage.

The thin veil between capitalist oligopoly and democracy is weakening by the day. Manifestations of violence around elections seems to be on the rise globally — not a great start to 2024.