BNP procession foiled by cops
Central office cordoned off; 8 activists held
Police yesterday thwarted a BNP move to bring out a mass procession in the city's Nayapaltan area protesting “government's repression and police attack” on the opposition activists and secret killings.
Police did not even let BNP men, excepting some senior leaders, gather at their central office there.
Though the procession was scheduled for 3:00pm, law enforcers cordoned off the office in the morning well before the party activists started gathering there around 9:00am. A three-tier police barricade prevented them from entering the office.
Around 3:30pm, police fired tear gas shells and water cannon and baton-charged pro-opposition lawyers to disperse them at a procession at Nightingale intersection near the party office.
At least eight persons including two female workers were picked up by police when they were trying to enter the office.
Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Anwar Hossain said, “We feared that anarchy could break out and requested them not to bring out any procession.”
Coming out of the office at 3:45pm, around 30 leaders led by party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir started a procession. But they were forced to stop just within 50 yards.
At one stage, they scuffled with police and sat down on the street, but could not stay for long.
During the brief sit-in there, Mirza Fakhrul said the government has created a “war-like” situation to obstruct opposition's protest programme. “Democracy and human rights are now at stake.”
The government has created panic in people's mind using Rab and police, he mentioned.
“Leaders and workers of BNP and its front and associate bodies were stopped by police at different points in the city on their way to join the procession,” complained Fakhrul.
Dhaka city BNP convener Sadeque Hossain Khoka said police obstructed BNP's procession, though section 144 (of the code of criminal procedure) was not imposed. “The Awami League government has even beaten the Pakistani misrule,” he added.
After about 20 minutes, the BNP leaders returned to the party office chanting slogans.
Several thousand police and Rab personnel were deployed in Nayapaltan, Bijoynagar and Purana Paltan areas. Some mobile teams of police with armoured vehicles and water cannons patrolled the vicinity of the BNP office.
Earlier on Monday Fakhrul declared the mass procession following Sunday's violence in the city centring BNP's reception to freedom fighters.
Opposition activists fought running battles with law enforcers and vandalised some vehicles in the city on Sunday. At least 12 handmade bombs went off leaving one person dead and scores injured.