Dhaka Metropolitan Police yesterday obstructed left parties’ programmes organised to protest the last general elections that they claimed were marred by irregularities.
Meanwhile, the BNP alleged that the law enforcers obstructed its scheduled rally in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office.
Yesterday was the first anniversary of the election.
At least 31 people were injured when police and activists of Democratic Left Alliance (DLA), a combine of eight left parties, clashed in front of Matsya Bhaban.
The BNP observed the day as “democracy killing day”, and the DLA observed it as “black day for democracy”.
In a statement later, the DLA claimed that police injured its 50 activists. Protesting the incident, it will hold rallies across the country today. In Dhaka, the left parties will demonstrate in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
The left parties held a brief protest rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club yesterday.
Police barricaded the left activists in front of Kodom fountain near the Supreme Court when they were marching towards the Prime Minister’s Office around 12:30pm, demanding re-election under a caretaker government, and stepping down of the government, said witnesses.
The protesters moved forward breaking the barricade. But they were again obstructed by police near the Matsya Bhaban, they said.
As they tried to go forward, a clash broke out between them there.
Police charged truncheons on the demonstrators who threw brick chunks and placards at the law enforcers. A chase and counter-chase continued for around half an hour, the witnesses added.
The clash left 31 people wounded, including Chief Coordinator of Ganosamhati Andolon Zonayed Saki, and General Secretary of Bangladesher Biplobi Workers’ Party Saiful Haq. Nine policemen were also among the injured.
Two photojournalists Habibur Rahman and Sohel Ahmed Sumit of Sarabangla news portal were wounded while covering the incident. During the clash, vehicular movement at the intersection came to a halt.
Of the injured, 22 DLA activists and nine policemen took treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Inspector Bacchu Miah, in-charge of DMCH police outpost, told The Daily Star.
“Police attacked a peaceful procession that left around 50 leaders and activists injured. Most of them are females,” said Abdullah Al Kafee Ratan, coordinator of the DLA.
Abul Hasan, officer-in-charge of Shahbagh Police Station,said they asked the demonstrators not to break the barricade when they reached near the Matsya Bhaban area, but they did not listen.
“They [demonstrators] attacked us with the sticks attached to the placards, injuring at least nine policemen,” he said, adding that they detained four people from the procession on charges of attacking police.
Asked about the “attack” on the procession, Sazzadur Rahman, deputy commissioner (Ramna division) of the DMP, said the protesters attacked police first with sticks. They also threw brick chunks, leaving the nine policemen hurt.
“Police just dispersed the procession to bring the situation under control with a mild baton charge.”
Besides the capital, the DLA also brought out processions to observe the “black day for democracy” in Dinajpur, Rangpur, and Gaibandha, report our correspondents there.
The alliance is comprised of Communist Party of Bangladesh, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal, Bangladesher Biplobi Workers’ Party, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (Marxist), Ganasanghati Andolan, United Communist League of Bangladesh, Ganatantrik Biplobi Party, and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Andolan.
BNP TO STAGE DEMO TODAY
The BNP yesterday announced that it would stage demonstrations in the capital today as it failed to hold its scheduled rally in the city due to “obstruction” by the police, reports UNB.
Party Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi made the announcement at a press conference at the party’s central office.
As part of its countrywide programme, the party was scheduled to hold a rally in front of its Nayapaltan central office at 2:00pm to observe December 30 as the “democracy killing day”.
“The BNP had earlier announced that it would hold a rally in the city today [Monday] to mark democracy killing day. But the government has become so scared that it is not allowing us to stage our peaceful rally,” Rizvi said.
He alleged that the law enforcers took position in front of their party office and its adjacent areas, roads and alleys since morning to obstruct their rally.
Rizvi said the Awami League could hold rallies and meetings anytime, anywhere but the opposition parties had no right to do so as the entire country had turned into “an empire of the party”.
In a protest against the “obstruction” to yesterday’s rally, he said the BNP would stage demonstrations in all thanas of the capital today.
Meanwhile, the party leaders and activists wore black badges, and a black flag was hoisted atop its central office in observance of the “democracy killing day”.
BNP standing committee members at a meeting last week decided to observe December 30 as the “democracy killing day”.
On Sunday, Jatiya Oikyafront staged a demonstration in front of the Jatiya Press Club.
The BNP, the Gonoforum and some other parties joined the national election under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront. The BNP bagged six seats in the polls and the Gonoforum two.
The Oikyafront turned down the election results, bringing allegations of various irregularities, including “massive vote robbery and nighttime ballot stuffing”.
They have also been demanding re-election, cancelling the December 30 polls since the announcement of the results.
BNP activists in Tangail brought out a procession to observe the “democracy killing day”, reports our district correspondent.