12:00 AM, February 10, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 10, 2013

100 hours and still counting

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Staff Correspondent

Vigour and spirits of thousands at Shahbagh intersection have overcome tiredness as the movement went past its 100th hour yesterday. The protestors are determined to stay on the street until their demand for death penalty for war criminals is met.
Sparked by the “inadequate” punishment of war criminal Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah on Tuesday, the movement at Shahbagh in the capital went into its fifth day yesterday.
It seems the more days go by the more verve and strength the protestors get.
Delwar Hossain, who represents Slogan '71 and is also an organiser of the movement, yesterday said, "The movement has reached its 100th hour. During this time, I have rested for 10 to 12 hours. I have been here since Tuesday evening."
Delwar is not alone. Thousands from all walks of life are demonstrating round the clock without adequate food or rest.
Sabbir Hossain, a student of Government Tolaram College of Narayanganj, said, "I came on Tuesday night. I have been sleeping two or three hours every night at Jagannath Hall of Dhaka University where one of my friends stays. I will not go home until they announce death penalty for the war criminals."
Several hundred protesters have been staging a sit-in, blocking the Shahbagh intersection since Tuesday afternoon after the International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Quader Mollah to life imprisonment.
On Friday, the nation saw the biggest gathering in recent history as tens of thousands thronged the intersection calling for death penalty for war criminals of the Liberation War.
There was an apprehension that the movement might lose momentum after the grand rally on Friday but it has been proved wrong. People from different parts of the city were seen converging on Shahbagh intersection yesterday morning.
Students of different schools and colleges were seen joining with national flags and placards. They were chanting slogans, singing songs and beating drums. Many were seen wearing bandanas that said “We demand the hanging of war criminals”. Some staged a street play while some made make-believe gallows.
The protesters yesterday said they would take position near the international crimes tribunal on the day the court delivers the verdict on Jamaat leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee's case. The case is awaiting verdict delivery.
The demonstrators yesterday burnt copies of three Bangla newspapers -- Amar Desh, Nayadiganta and Sangram -- in front of Fine Arts Faculty of Dhaka University. On Friday, protesters had urged everyone to boycott these newspapers as they had been publishing news about the movement that were untrue.
Noted academician Prof Emeritus Dr Anisuzzaman joined the movement yesterday around 11:30am and praised the youth. National cricket team member Shahriar Nafis also joined them around 8:15pm and chanted slogans demanding death penalty for war criminals.
Meanwhile, Lucky Akhter, a frontline activist of the movement, yesterday received threats via telephone around 2:00pm.
The protesters yesterday set up a cyber booth at Shahbagh to campaign against the online propaganda of Jamaat-Shibir.
Like the previous days, police yesterday kept the barricades in front of Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, Aziz Super Market and Institute of Fine Arts to divert traffic, leaving the streets that lead to Shahbagh gridlocked.
Commissioner Benazir Ahmed of Dhaka Metropolitan Police visited Shahbagh yesterday around noon to see for himself the security measures deployed there.
Protesters yesterday morning handed two suspected Jamaat-Shibir activists over to Shahbagh police. However, police last night told The Daily Star that the two people concerned were not involved in Jamaat-Shibir and they were let go.
At Mirpur-10 and Matuail in the capital, crowds gathered to demand death penalty to the war criminals.
At Chittagong Press Club, where the people of the city were holding demonstrations, Minister for Primary and Mass Education Afsarul Ameen faced public wrath trying to deliver a speech.

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