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.