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Big-city curfews are eased after Bangladeshi protests

Curfews were relaxed Thursday in Bangladesh's two largest cities following clashes this week between security forces and demonstrators opposed to Lt. Gen Hussain Mohammad Ershad's military regime.

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Government-imposed 24-hour curfews were relaxed 12 hours in Dacca, the capital, and three hours in Chittagong.

General Ershad had imposed the curfew in the capital Monday and rescinded recently granted political freedoms after battles between security forces and demonstrators who were demanding an end to martial law, the restoration of civil rights, and parliamentary elections.

Authorities said the curfew in Dacca was lifted in preparation for a conference of Islamic foreign ministers beginning next Tuesday. The delegates were scheduled to begin arriving in Dacca today. The first group of 10 officials arrived Wednesday.

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