Bangladesh police used tear gas and rubber bullets against opposition protesters, as they clashed outside a makeshift court in Dhaka, where former prime minister Khaleda Zia appeared for hearing in two graft cases.
The clashes began after activists of Chhatra League, the student wing of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League party, allegedly attacked a Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) procession minutes before Zia’s motorcade arrived, Xinhua reported.
Clashes outside the court continued even after Khaleda entered the school building to appear before a newly-appointed judge of Special Court, Abu Ahmed Jamadar.
A number of vehicles were damaged or set on fire in the incident.
Several bomb explosions were heard during the clash but no casualties have been reported.
Traffic remained suspended for hours following the clashes, leaving dozens of people injured.
Thousands of BNP members had gathered in the court’s surrounding areas to welcome Khaleda Zia.
Meanwhile, the activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, the student wing of BNP, allegedly torched the private car of a ruling party lawmaker, Chhabi Biswas, who was injured in the clash.
The situation, however, eased to a large extent after Khaleda Zia left the court area.
The court has fixed Jan 7 for the deposition hearing of Khaleda Zia, also chairperson of BNP, in the Zia Charitable Trust and Zia Orphanage Trust graft cases.
Bangladesh’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed one of the cases in July 2008, saying that Khaleda and five others, including her elder son Tarique Rahman, had embezzled over 20 million taka ($253,164) from an orphanage trust during her 2001-2006 term as prime minister.
In 2011, the anti-graft body sued the BNP chief and three others for pocketing 31.5 million taka of the Zia Charitable Trust in the name of her late husband, former president Ziaur Rahman.