Bangladesh demonstrators demand foreign treatment for ailing ex-PM

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Bangladesh police fired tear gas and around 20 people were injured Monday as thousands of opposition demonstrators demanded the government allow ailing ex-premier Khaleda Zia to fly abroad for treatment.

Zia, 76, arch-rival of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was admitted to the critical care unit of a Dhaka hospital early this month after her health worsened, one of her doctors told AFP. She is currently barred by a court from travelling overseas after being convicted on graft charges in 2018.

“She is critically ill and now urgently needs treatment in developed countries such as the United States, Germany and Britain. There is no treatment for her in the region,” doctor A.Z.M. Zahid Hossain said. said a protest Monday outside Dhaka’s National Press Club drew more than 15,000 activists and supporters of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), but police put the number at around 7,000.

Hundreds of police were deployed. The BNP, which was last in power from 2001 to 2006, also staged demonstrations in dozens of other cities and towns across the country of 169 million people. In the northern district of Natore “about 20 people were injured including three journalists” when BNP activists clashed with police who tried to thwart a procession, a police inspector told AFP.—AFP

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