DHAKA (Reuters) - Protesters set a train ablaze in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least four people amid a countrywide strike called by the opposition to press its demand for the government to resign ahead of an election next month.
It was the latest strife sparked by anti-government protests in which dozens of buses and vehicles have been set on fire, with at least six people killed since Oct. 28, when an opposition rally turned violent.
"Strike supporters set fire to three compartments of an express train," said fire service official Shahjahan Shikder. "Four bodies have been retrieved from a compartment."
It was not immediately clear how many were aboard the train, headed for the capital of Dhaka from the northern district of Netrokona, when passengers saw the flames a short distance from its destination, police said.
There was no immediate comment from the government.
With its top leaders either jailed or in the exile, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) wants Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and make way for a neutral government to oversee Jan. 7 polls that it has boycotted.
Hasina, who is seeking her fourth consecutive term of five, has repeatedly rebuffed the opposition calls to resign, blaming the BNP for the recent deadly street protests in support of their demand.
Of the 300 constituencies up for grabs in the election, Hasina's Awami League party has shared 26 with its ally the Jatiya Party, thus allowing the latter to field candidates in a total of 283 seats.
Rights groups have accused the government of targeting opposition leaders and supporters. The government denies the accusations but faces pressure from Western nations to hold free, fair and participatory elections.
In line with usual practice, Bangladesh's election panel has decided to deploy the army from Dec. 29 to deter any violence.
(Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)