GLOBAL ECONOMY

Bangladesh arrests over 5,300 in crackdown on extremists

  • FILE- In this Dec. 24, 2015 file photo,a member of Bangladeshi bomb disposal unit carries seized homemade bombs during a raid on a building where members of a banned Islamist group were detained in Mirpur area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Authorities in Bangladesh said Sunday, June 12, 2016 that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists in the country. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE- In this Dec. 24, 2015 file photo,a member of Bangladeshi bomb disposal unit carries seized homemade bombs during a raid on a building where members of a banned Islamist group were detained in Mirpur area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Authorities in Bangladesh said Sunday, June 12, 2016 that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists in the country. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE- In this Dec. 24, 2015 file photo, a member of Bangladeshi bomb disposal unit prepares to detonate homemade explosives seized from a building during a raid on a building where members of a banned Islamist group were detained in Mirpur area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Authorities in Bangladesh said Sunday, June 12, 2016 that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists in the country. (AP Photo, File)

    FILE- In this Dec. 24, 2015 file photo, a member of Bangladeshi bomb disposal unit prepares to detonate homemade explosives seized from a building during a raid on a building where members of a banned Islamist group were detained in Mirpur area, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Authorities in Bangladesh said Sunday, June 12, 2016 that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists in the country. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Relatives wait to meet prisoners outside the Dhaka Central Jail in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, June 12, 2016. Police in Bangladesh said Sunday that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists. (AP Photo)

    Relatives wait to meet prisoners outside the Dhaka Central Jail in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Sunday, June 12, 2016. Police in Bangladesh said Sunday that they have arrested more than 5,000 criminal suspects in the past few days as they continue a nationwide crackdown to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Authorities in Bangladesh are continuing a nationwide crackdown on thousands of criminal suspects to try and stop a growing wave of brutal attacks on minorities and activists in the country.

Police spokesman Kamrul Ahsan said Sunday that police arrested 5,324 people over the weekend, including 85 suspected Islamist radicals. The majority of those arrested have petty criminal records. More arrests are expected through this week.

The attacks have alarmed the international community and raised questions about whether Bangladesh's secular government can protect minorities and secular writers and intellectuals in the Muslim-majority nation.

At least 18 people, including atheist bloggers and foreign aid workers, have been killed in attacks over the last two years. In separate incidents last week, two Hindus were fatally attacked.