Police denied the BNP-led 20-party alliance permission to hold a human chain in the capital yesterday in observance of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, compelling it to adjourn the programme at the eleventh hour.
BNP spokesperson Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir announced the cancellation of the protest at a press conference at the party's Nayapaltan central office, hours before it was scheduled to start.
Fakhrul, also coordinator of the alliance, said they would hold the human chain on September 2 in the city, protesting killing and forced disappearances of opposition men "by law enforcement agencies and ruling party cadres". Time and venue will be announced later, he said.
Lambasting the administration for its denial, the BNP acting secretary general said the government feared that their “identity as being ferocious and murderous” would be exposed before the world if it allowed his party to observe the international day.
“The 20-party alliance wants to avoid conflict. That's why we came up with the decision [of adjournment],” he said.
The political bloc announced on August 25 that they would hold human chains in the capital and elsewhere of the country on August 30.
Fakhrul said the Awami League leaders had requested BNP to postpone their programme, as it coincided with a pre-scheduled rally of the ruling party at the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan, which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was expected to attend.
Fakhrul said Dhaka Metropolitan Police first denied BNP permission to hold the human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on the pretext of PM's rally.
Later the party applied for the premises of its central office, mentioning that the crowd would spill over to Notre Dame College on the east and Bijoynagar intersection on the west, he said.
But, despite shifting the venue, DMP turned down their request at 11:00pm on Friday, while the programme was scheduled to begin at 11:00am the next day, he said.