Bangladesh clashes over bloggers accused of blasphemy

Bangladesh clashes over bloggers accused of blasphemy

Bangladesh clashes over bloggers accused of blasphemy

Updated 23 February 2013, 1:32 AEST

Bangladesh police say four people have died during clashes with protesters wanting execution of bloggers.

Police in Bangladesh have fired tear gas and rubber bullets during fierce clashes with protesters who are demanding the execution of bloggers accused of blasphemy.

Parts of central Dhaka turned into a battlefield as protesters attacked police with bricks and sticks in front of the national mosque.

Four people are reported to have been killed and several hundred injured.

Police say two people were shot dead in the north western town of Palashbari and two others died elsewhere.

The country's 12 Islamic parties called for the protests after Friday prayers in nearly half a million mosques nationwide, demanding the execution of bloggers they say blasphemed Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

Tensions have risen in the Muslim-majority nation over allegedly anti-Islamic blog posts by Ahmed Rajib Haider, who was hacked to death last week near his home in Dhaka.

In recent weeks Mr Haider and fellow bloggers had launched huge protests demanding a ban on the largest Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and the execution of its leaders for alleged war crimes in the 1971 independence conflict with Pakistan.

Since Haider's death, Bangladeshi social media has been flooded with his alleged blog posts and with those by other bloggers mocking Islam, triggering protests by a number of Islamic groups and clerics.

AFP