Bangladesh yesterday joined One Billion Rising, a global campaign to end violence against women.
People from all walks of life congregated in front of the Supreme Court in the capital under the banner "Uddome Uttorone Shotokoti" donning red outfits.
The theme for this year is "Rise for Justice" with special attention into the unsolved cases of post-election rape of two Hindu housewives in Monirampur of Jessore, the disappearance of rights activist Kalpana Chakma, and the assault on journalist Nadia Sharmin by Hefajat-e Islam activists.
“Activists of Hefajat-e Islam while hitting me kept asking me why I am here amid the rally, being a female. Even those who saved me asked me why I do not go about with my head covered,” actress Bonna Mirza read from an excerpt sent in by Nadia Sharmin.
Sharmin was attacked by Hefajat men on May 5 last year during the long march organised by the Islamist organisation.
Chandra Tripura, an activist of Hill Women's Federation, read out one of the last speeches given by Kalpana Chakma before she was allegedly abducted in 1996, "Adivasi women face double oppression from their men and the Bangalees."
"The bodies of women have always been used by men and this has to be stopped," said Khushi Kabir, coordinator of Nijera Kori.
"Despite being a boy I came because I saw someone I am very close to being beaten by her husband every day. This is not fair," said Emon, who is giving his HSC exam from Khilgaon Model College University.
The objective of choosing Valentine's Day to host the programme is because it is a celebration of love between men and women, and the movement aims to establish respect within that love, said speakers.
Around 300 organisations in the country will be celebrating the movement.