Condemning Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians, the BNP-led 20-party alliance today staged a huge showdown in the capital and across the country urging world leaders to take immediate measures to stop killing of innocent Palestinians.
Several thousand opposition men dominated by leaders and activists of Islami Chhatra Shibir and Jamaat-e-Islami, a key component in the alliance, brought out a black-flag procession from BNP’s central office in Nayapaltan around 3:40pm.
Wearing black badges, the protesters ended the procession at Malibagh intersection amid tight security and vigilance by law enforcement agencies.
Several hundred members of police were deployed in different points on the procession route. Armoured personnel vehicles, water cannons and prison vans were put on standby. Howerver, there was no report of any untoward incident.
This was the alliance’s first ever street programme since the January-5 one-sided national election boycotted by the BNP-led alliance and most other political parties.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police earlier on several occasions denied permission to BNP to hold indoor rallies and processions in the city.
Senior leaders of the 20-party alliance took part in the procession. The alliance also observed the programme in different cities and district towns across the country today.
In his brief speech from a makeshift stage, BNP new Dhaka city unit convener Mirza Abbas instructed the party leaders not to utter anti-government slogans in the procession as the programme was designed to protest Israeli offensive.
Before bringing out the procession, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir in his speech said their demonstration was aimed to let the world community know that the people of Bangladesh are with the repressed Palestinians.
More than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died since the fighting began in Gaza on July 8. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed in the violence and three civilians in Israel have also died.
Israel and the Palestinians have begun a fresh five-day ceasefire in Gaza on August 14.