DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Voting in general elections in Bangladesh is underway as violence by suspected opposition activists who are boycotting the polls threatens to plunge this South Asian country even deeper into crisis.

Police said Sunday that suspected opposition activists stabbed to death a polling official in northern Thakurgaon district. Local media reported that attackers torched more than 127 school buildings across the country in overnight attacks. The buildings were to be used as polling stations.

The voting began at 8 a.m. local time, but local television stations showed mostly empty polling stations.

The opposition demands that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina step down and appoint a neutral caretaker to oversee the election. Hasina refused, which means the election are mainly be a contest between candidates from the ruling Awami League and its allies.

Bangladeshi security personnel carry ballot boxes and other election materials to polling centers a day ahead of general elections in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. The run-up to Sunday's general election in Bangladesh has been marked by bloody street clashes and caustic political vendettas, and the vote threatens to plunge this South Asian country even deeper into crisis. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad)

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