Election day is right around the corner in Bangladesh. And campaigns ended on Friday after weeks of widespread violence and arrests that have been criticised by the international community. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League is seeking its third straight term in Sunday's election. Her main opposition is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party or BNP, who boycotted the last vote in 2014.
The BNP is also leading an opposition alliance from a coalition of 20 parties known as the National Unity Front. They promised to remove curbs on the media, as well as raise wages and freeze energy prices. Now, the BNP say, more than eight thousand opposition leaders have been arrested since early last month.
Some appearing at a Dhaka court to face charges on Wednesday.
All over Bangladesh supporters of BNP and other opposition parties are unable to stay at their homes. Police are arresting them wherever they are seen and taking them to court. It is not an election in Bangladesh, it is just a process of taking people away.
The wave of attacks and arrests have been criticized by the United States and other countries. US ambassador to Bangladesh, Earl Miller said, all parties have been victims of violence. But on Thursday, said opposition candidates appeared to have borne the brunt of attacks.
Hasina and former two-time prime minister, Khaleda Zia, have alternated as prime minister since 1991. Zia, who was also BNP Chief was also arrested on allegations of corruption in February this year. Local media reported on Friday, the government ordered a shutdown of high speed mobile internet services ahead of the vote.
That would mean people will not be able to steam or upload pictures or videos to the internet. Hasina has denied accusations of trying to intimidate opposition candidates and journalists. Awami League leaders also deny any misuse of power, and say they expect to return to government with an overwhelming majority.