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Bangladesh demonstrators call for electoral reforms

[JURIST] Over 20,000 Bangladeshis marched Saturday in the capital Dhaka calling for electoral reforms ahead of a nationwide poll scheduled for January. Peaceful demonstrations organized by a coalition of 14 opposition parties began Tuesday. The demonstrators were closely watched by police and security services on the alert for violence and what one official called "subversive acts." In recent weeks the opposition grouping has pressed for the resignation of leading members of the country's election commission [official website], who they allege are partisan.

The current four-party government [official website] is expected to hand over power to a caretaker administration in October. Bangladesh [JURIST news archive] has been battling a wave of violence and bombings orchestrated by Islamic militant groups pressing for the country-wide adoption of sharia law. In May, court in Dhaka sentenced seven Islamic militants to death [JURIST report] for the murder of two judges in a bomb attack last year. AFP has more. The Bangladesh Observer has local coverage of a political meeting held in conjunction with the march.

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