BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has started addressing a rally of the BNP-led 18-party alliance at the capital’s business hub Motijheel.
The opposition chief reached the venue, Shapla Chattar, around 3:50pm. She is expected to announce the alliance’s next course of action from the rally.
The venue turned into a human sea as thousands of people poured into the area to join the rally that began around 2:10pm.
Thousands of supporters and activists of the 18-party alliance started to converge at the venue since morning.
Our reporters covering the event said at least 40,000 people have gathered at Shapla Chattar. Activists of Jamaat-e-Islam, a component of the alliance, are dominating the gathering.
The assembly has spilled out into adjoining areas including Dainik Bangla and Fakirerpool intersections and in front of Notre Dame College.
Leaders of the alliance were seen addressing the rally till 2:30pm when this report was filed.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance is holding the rally to put weight on the government to realise its prime demand, restoration of the caretaker government system.
The alliance is going to hold the rally a day before Hefajat-e Islam’s lay siege to Dhaka programme.
Hefajat’s programme is set for Sunday to materialise its 13-point demand, including introduction of Sharia [law of Islam] to punish atheists and those who act against Islam.
BNP had already held meetings of district and divisional leaders at the party office and made the grassroots-level leaders aware of their duties to make the rally successful.
The BNP high command has also instructed leaders of its associate bodies, especially Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal, Jubo Dal and Swechchhasebak Dal, to make sure that all their leaders and activists are present in the rally.