Leaders of former Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina's party are rejecting talks with the government over elections later this year and demand she be released from detention.
Hundreds of grassroots leaders of one of Bangladesh's largest political parties, the Bangladesh Awami League, gathered in the capital Dhaka on Monday. They are deciding whether to participate in a proposed dialogue with the government on the possibility of elections later in the year.The government was hoping that the talks with political parties would steer the nation to democracy through an election it promised to hold in the third week of December. But opposition parties are demanding the release of their detained leaders Sheikh Hasina and Begum Khaleda Zia, before joining the talks.The Awami league leaders also threatened to protest in the streets if Hasina was not freed immediately.[Kamrul Islam, Dhaka City Awami League]:"From our Awami League, we have decided that without Sheik Hasina there will be no dialogue. Without Sheikh Hasina, no elections."The interim government took over in January last year after months of political violence and imposed a state of emergency. It also launched a crackdown on corruption, detaining scores of top politicians including Hasina and her rival, Zia.Loyalists of Zia have also refused talks with the government, demanding her release first.
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