The participation of a large number of BNP activists and supporters in yesterday's human chain encouraged its top leaders to go for more peaceful programmes to press for the release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, said Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the party.
As part of its countrywide scheduled programme, hundreds of BNP leaders and activists formed a human chain in front of Jatiya Press Club around 10:30am and continued it until 12 noon, protesting the conviction of Khaleda in a graft case.
“The number of participants in our programmes is increasing day by day. It is because people believe Khaleda Zia was convicted in a false case and they want to participate in peaceful protests,” said Fakhrul while speaking at the demonstration.
A huge number of law enforcers were deployed in around the human chain, which ended peacefully, to fend off any trouble.
However, police arrested at least 85 BNP leaders and activists, including its Vice Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu, in and outside Dhaka, according to the party sources.
Addressing the programme, Fakhrul said his party's peaceful movement will continue till the release of the party chairperson.
“You have expressed your anger at the jailing of our leader Khaleda Zia and showed affection to her by joining the human chain braving many obstacles. Today's programme proved that Khaleda Zia is the most popular leader of the country,” Fakhrul told the BNP activists.
The BNP leader demanded immediate and unconditional release of Khaleda. “We want to say clearly that we will not go for any election without Khaleda Zia and no election will be held in the country without her.”
He urged the party leaders and activists to continue the movement peacefully.
Earlier, the BNP men took position from Kadam Foara to Topkhana intersection and staged their protests with a good number of female activists joining in it. They chanted slogans demanding Khaleda's immediate and unconditional release.
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi alleged that police arrested some of their party leaders and activists, including Vice Chairman Shamsuzzaman Dudu, as they were returning home after joining the human chain programme.
Not only in Dhaka, BNP formed human chains across the country, including the major cities, with no incident of violence taking place.
BNP leaders and activists formed human chains in Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barisal, Khulna, Chapainawabganj, Noakhali, Bandarban, Mymensingh, Bagerhat and some other districts.
The party will stage a sit-in today and hunger strike tomorrow across the country, demanding the release of Khaleda Zia.