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Voting Begins In Bangladesh Amid Opposition Boycott, Violence

Voters in Bangladesh are heading to the polls on January 5 amid opposition protests that have left more than 100 people dead over the past weeks.

Officials said some 100 polling stations were torched across the country on January 4.

The main opposition Bangladesh National Party, which is boycotting the vote, has begun a two-day general strike against what it called a "scandalous farce."

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has dismissed the opposition's demands for her to stand aside and for a neutral caretaker administration to oversee the poll, as in previous elections.

Hasina’s Awami League is certain to remain in power as more than half of the parliamentary seats will be uncontested because of the opposition's boycott.

About 50,000 troops have been deployed around Bangladesh for the election period.

Based on reporting by AFP and dpa