DHAKA - Bangladesh police on Monday arrested the deputy head of the main opposition party on charges of violent behaviour during recent protests in which two people were killed.

Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the acting secretary general of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was picked up at the party's headquarters in central Dhaka, assistant commissioner of police M. Asaduzzaman told AFP.

"He has been arrested," Asaduzzaman said, adding Alamgir has been accused of torching and damaging vehicles on Sunday when BNP workers blocked roads across Bangladesh, triggering clashes with police and ruling party


BNP spokesman Rizvi Ahmed told AFP the arrest was "politically motivated" and aimed at scuttling the nationwide strike that the party and its 17 small allies have called for Tuesday.

"The government has so far arrested more than 500 of our activists and officials since Sunday," he said.

The opposition has stepped up protests in recent weeks demanding early elections under a neutral caretaker government. The election is due in January 2014.

The caretaker system, under which a neutral administration takes over power to oversee elections, has been scrapped by the incumbent government that is led by the Awami League party.

Local television stations ran footage of ruling party supporters attacking a young tailor in front of a court house on Sunday. He died as he was rushed to hospital.