12:00 AM, February 13, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 13, 2013

Crowds keep swelling at Shahbagh

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Staff Correspondent

Protesters at Shahbagh yesterday vowed to continue their movement and said that Jamaat-Shibir would no way be able to stop the people's movement, not even by exploding bombs or carrying out attacks.
Minutes after the Jamaat-Shibir men attacked law enforcers at different points in the capital, the protest venue reverberated with slogans like "Threats cannot stop the movement" and "Bomb attacks cannot stop the movement".
The people of Bangladesh have already put up a strong resistance against Jamaat-Shibir and the anarchy created by the anti-liberation forces, the protesters said.
The demonstrators also declared a two-day programme -- rendering of protest songs at Shahbagh at 3:00pm today and a countrywide candlelight vigil at 7:00pm tomorrow in the memory of the martyrs killed by Jamaat and its student wing during and after the Liberation War.
Yesterday, the eighth day of the nonstop movement, protesters in their tens of thousands poured into the Shahbagh intersection, demanding capital punishment to all war criminals, including Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah.
The movement began on February 5, soon after a war crimes tribunal sentenced Mollah to life term in prison for crimes against humanity during the 1971 war. The protest was initiated by Bloggers and Online Activist Network, but it soon turned into a mass movement.
The movement spread to other parts of the country, with the call for capital punishment to all war criminals getting louder and louder.
Deputy Speaker Shawkat Ali, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu, noted economist Prof Abul Barkat, a group of thirty retired army officers and many other eminent personalities yesterday joined the movement at Shahbagh and expressed their solidarity with the demonstrators.
"Their [Jamaat-Shibir's] violence can't dampen the spirit of the Shahbagh movement.
"Do they think they can intimidate us? Do they think we will hide under our beds? They can come with all they have got," said Esha Siddiqui, a demonstrator.
"They couldn't stop us in 1971; they can't stop us today," added Esha, a private university student.
Meanwhile, protestors have urged all to celebrate the Pahela Falgun, the first day of spring, today with the sprit of "struggle".
Terming Jamaat a "black spot" of the spring, they said they hoped to annihilate this blackness before the season was over.
"Boshonter kalo daag, ei Boshonte muche jak (let the black spot of the spring wipe out this spring)," protestors chanted.
In a mock execution, a youth, dressed like Quader Mollah, was hanged on the stage, and the demonstrators held a procession carrying his symbolic dead body.
Effigies of other alleged war criminals were also burnt.
Jasim Uddin, who played Quader Mollah's role, told The Daily Star that he took part in the mock hanging because he hated all the war criminals.
Many said they made the protest venue their home for the last few days and would not go home until their demand was met.
"I have been staying here for seven days. I eat here and take rest here," said Sekander Ali, who claimed to be a freedom fighter.

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