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Bangladesh government digs in against protests as economy teeters

Experts warn of 2023 debt challenge and election considered unlikely to be fair

Supporters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party shout slogans during a massive rally in Dhaka on Dec. 10, in which they called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step aside and install a caretaker government.   © AP

DHAKA -- Political tensions in Bangladesh are boiling after a weekend that saw tens of thousands take to the streets against the government, raising fears of violence and repression as well as concerns over the impact on an already fragile economy.

A series of demonstrations organized by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in recent months culminated in a huge rally in Dhaka on Saturday, despite extensive government efforts to keep a lid on it. The BNP's head office in the capital was cordoned off, while roads were blocked to prevent party leaders and activists from joining the protest.

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