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Swedish envoy tastes rough side of local politics

By UNB, DHAKA
29th-Apr-2015       
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Swedish ambassador to Dhaka Johan Frisell inadvertently got a taste of the dark and rough side to politics in
Bangladesh, as he found himself caught in the middle of a serious clash between two rival councilor candidates supporters.
Independent candidate Haji Selim came up with some allegations of fake vote casting against Awami League-backed candidate Iar Mohammad Iaru at Kobi Nazrul Government College polling centre at Laxmibazar.
Trouble soon ensued, as both men flanked by their respective supporters ended up at the centre at the same time. Bricks were hurled and the two groups chased each other in and around the centre' s premises.
The fight broke out while the Swedish envoy was visiting the centre as part of his country's efforts to encourage and promote democracy in Bangladesh. Ambassador Frisell was visibly shaken, and sweating nervously as he took shelter in the first floor of the centre.
He was seen frantically sending text messages to someone, and talking in Swedish to someone on his phone. Iaru supporters, who ended up outside the centre, even hurled two crude bombs at the centre during this time. Certainly not the best way to experience Bangladeshi politics for the first time!
Talking to UNB however, Ambassador Frisell sportingly said he has witnessed such election-related violence before in some other countries.
Eventually, his ordeal ended after almost a full hour, when a lull in the fighting allowed him to escape the madness ensuing at the centre.
Indrajit Gosh, photojournalist at The Dhaka Tribune, and Mehedi
Hasan, photojournalist of The Bangladesh Pratidin, received severe
injuries during the clash.

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