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Tower Hamlets MP calls for calm in borough following violent clashes in Bangladesh

PUBLISHED: 15:12 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:43 25 March 2013

Rushanara Ali MP

Rushanara Ali MP

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Bangladeshi-born MP Rushanara Ali has appealed for calm at home and abroad after escalating violence in Bangladesh sparked protests in Tower Hamlets.

The MP, who represents Bethnal and Bow and also serves as the shadow minister for international development, called a debate in Parliament about the spate of violence that has erupted in Bangladesh.

Dozens of people have died in skirmishes as party supporters and activists clashed after death sentences were dished out to Islamist party leaders accused of war crimes dating back to the fight for the country’s independence in 1971.

The unrest has led to a series of weekly demonstrations in Whitechapel’s Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel Road.

Protestors are calling for the international community to step in, while brandishing placards saying “Shahbag, we are with you” to show their support for Shahbag, a neighbourhood particularly hit by pitched battles.

Ms Ali mentioned the Tower Hamlets protests during the Parliamentary debate on March 19, and said: “I appeal to those who demonstrate in one of the major parks – Altab Ali Park - in my constituency every weekend and every Friday to do so peacefully and to relay their concerns peacefully.

“In the end, they will be doing no favours to their fellow countrymen and women in Bangladesh if they act irresponsibly.”

She told MPs a third of her constituents are of British Bangladeshi origin and added she had been contacted by “many” residents worried about the safety of their family members overseas.

“We must ensure that we in the British Parliament play our part in supporting countries such as Bangladesh, so that early action can be taken,” she told politicians.

“We can apply the appropriate pressure as friends of Bangladesh to try to make sure such situations do not escalate and become more grave.”

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