Students of several schools and colleges joined the ongoing demonstration at Shahbagh yesterday, demanding death penalty for war criminals. A number of artistes, inset, who went to express solidarity with the movement, chant slogans. Photo: Anisur Rahman
Shahbagh protesters yesterday urged people to express solidarity with the movement by holding a three-minute silence today to press home the demand for death penalty for all war criminals, including Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
Urging all to stand in silence wherever they may be for three minutes from 4:00pm, Imran H Sarker, a key organiser of the movement, said, "All the people cannot join us in Shahbagh. We call upon them to express solidarity with us by holding the three-minute silence."
â€œThis is a new form of protest. And we may also organise cultural and other programmes as part of the ongoing movement.â€
Imran told The Daily Star that the movement will continue until their demands are met.
Like the previous days, tens of thousands of people converged on the capital's Shahbagh intersection yesterday, the seventh consecutive day of the demonstration.
The demonstrators started the protest on February 5 demanding death penalty for Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Mollah, after International Crimes Tribunal-2 sentenced Mollah to life imprisonment for war crimes in 1971.
People from all walks of life irrespective of age, sex and class have thronged Shahbagh to express solidarity with the protesters.
Expressing solidarity with the demonstrators, Ekattorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee yesterday demanded trial of Jamaat-e-Islami as an organisation for its complicity in crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.
Committee's acting president Shahriar Kabir demanded inclusion of a provision in the International Crimes Tribunal (Amendment) Act, 1973 for ensuring protection of the witnesses.
Its leaders Ferdousi Priyobhashini and Shaheedjaya Shyamoli Nasrin Chowdhury, among others, joined the Shahbagh demonstrations yesterday.
Students from different schools, colleges and universities from across the country joined the movement carrying banners, placards and national flags over the last few days. Their presence at Shahbagh added momentum to the movement.
A large number of students in school and college uniform started pouring into the venue since morning. They sat in circles on the street and chanted slogans for death penalty for all war criminals.
"When I first saw the demonstrations on the television, I felt guilty for not being able to join the protest. I have finally joined it today and feel proud about it. I would not forgive myself if I failed to come here," said Simanto, a student of Dhaka City College.
Many students said they didn't attend classes to join the demonstrations along with their teachers.
The protesters hoisted a huge national flag between Birdem Hospital and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University at around 5:50pm.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and eminent cultural personalities also expressed solidarity with the demonstrators.
Law enforcers yesterday detained 10 persons from Shahbagh suspecting them as Shibir activists, and another person from the protest venue while he was distributing leaflets. They were later released after primary interrogation.
The protesters on Sunday submitted to the Speaker a six-point demand including death penalty for all war criminals including Mollah, and revocation of the state power to grant amnesty to the persons convicted by the tribunals.
Eminent personalities, academicians, politicians, sports personalities and human rights activists have expressed solidarity with the movement.