Bangladesh is ripe for a fundamentalist takeover.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police in Bangladesh’s capital fired rubber bullets to disperse stone-throwing Islamic activists Sunday during a protest to demand that the government enact an anti-blasphemy law.

The activists were among thousands demonstrating around Dhaka, blocking roads and cutting off the city from the rest of the country.

Police said protesters also set many shops and at least 30 vehicles on fire. Authorities deployed more than 15,000 security forces in the capital.

Clashes broke out in central Dhaka as activists started pelting police with stones, a police official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity under local briefing rules.

An unidentified man was killed and at least 45 people were injured, the official said. He provided no further details.

Thousands of activists from Hefatjat-e-Islam, a newly formed group, gathered in Dhaka’s Motijheel commercial district to press for their demands.

The group says some Internet users have recently used their blogs to spread atheism and lies about Islam.

The government in this Muslim-majority nation has rejected the groups’ demands, saying Bangladesh is governed by secular liberal laws.

Update:

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) — The streets of Bangladesh’s capital rang with the sound of gunfire, explosions and tear-gas canisters Sunday as Islamist protesters demanding laws against blasphemy battled police, leaving four dead.

Tens of thousands of supporters of the Hefazat-e-Islam movement blocked nearly all the roads leading into the capital, Dhaka, as they pressed a list of demands, including the anti-blasphemy statute. Clashes broke out when Hefazat activists tried to break a police cordon.

Street battles went on for hours, with police firing rubber bullets and tear gas and the Islamists hurling crude explosives and chunks of brick. At least three bodies were left in the streets, and one more person was reported dead at a hospital. Police said scores of people were hurt, including police officers and journalists.

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