DHAKA - Bangladesh opposition supporters blocked roads and ripped up railway tracks Tuesday in protests against elections announced for January, leaving seven people dead and plunging the nation into fresh turmoil.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies called a 48-hour nationwide transport blockade to press their demand for a suspension of the January 5 poll date. The BNP has urged PM Sheikh Hasina to resign and make way for a neutral caretaker government. Hasina’s government rejected the demand and the Election Commissioner pushed ahead with the date. As clashes resumed Tuesday, police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and in some cases live rounds. Train services were paralysed. Protesters also detonated home-made bombs.  Security was tight in Dhaka with 8,000 police on duty.