“We fought in '52 for language, now for lives.”
“No more assurance, we want justice.”
These slogans echoed the voice of students in Rajshahi city as they took to the streets demanding justice and safe roads like elsewhere in the country.
Since 10:30am yesterday, students started gathering at Shaheb Bazar Zero Point. A few hundred students from Rajshahi Collegiate School and Rajshahi Government PN Girls School formed a human chain there, while Rajshahi Cantonment Public School and College, Cantonment Board School, BGB Public School and College, Agrani School, Seroil School, Helenabad and Baliapukur Schools joined them shortly.
Rafi Muttaki Mahi, a student of Cantonment Board School, said, “We are here because we cannot rely on the assurance of some government officials.”
During the protest, law enforcers encircled the spot. The students stayed on the road until 1:30pm and announced to return until fulfilment of their demands.
CTG: POLICE CAR SENT BACK TO WHERE IT CAME FROM
In Chittagong city, hundreds of students began agitation around 10:30am, and it continued till afternoon. Students took position on around 4km stretch of the major thoroughfare from Agrabad Badamtoli to Gate No. 2 of Sholoshahar. They checked driving licences and fitness papers of vehicles.
In Dampara, the protesters stopped an SUV of Bangladesh Navy when the driver failed to show his license, promoting them to hand it over to police.
They also forced a vehicle of Detective Branch (DB) of police to return to Dampara Police Lines as the driver had no license. They wrote “no licence” on its body with non-removable ink.
Separately, the driver of another police vehicle was found without a licence. When they tried to stop it, the driver ploughed through the protesters leaving several of them injured. Students then vandalised a few glasses of the vehicle.
The protesters, however, did not stop ambulances, vehicles carrying the disabled people and goods carts.
Many guardians were also seen expressing solidarity with the protest while some of them distributed food and drinks among the students.
Saif Uddin Mohammad Mujahid, a class XI student of BAF Shaheen College, Chittagong, said, “Police are co-operating with us in checking documents of the drivers. And we are not here to hurt anyone.”
Traffic Sergeant Mohammad Kuddus Ali said police barricaded the south side of this road from Tigerpass to Gate No 2 intersection to avoid chaos. The situation returned to normalcy as the protest ended at 4:00pm.
SYLHET: 'I'M PROUD, I SHOWED MY LICENCE AT THREE POINTS'
Defying rain, thousands of students from schools, colleges and universities started gathering in front of Sylhet Central Shaheed Minar around 3:00pm.
Chowhatta, Zindabazar, Lamabazar, Bandarbazar, Sust gate and some other areas were also abuzz with the voices of the youngsters. Like Dhaka and Chittagong, they asked for licences and other papers while disciplining the traffic.
Abul Ahmed, a CNG auto-rickshaw driver, said, “I showed my licence to the students at three points, and I'm proud of them. I have a school-going son and they are doing a good thing.”
The protest led to long tailbacks, causing sufferings to commuters.
At busy points, traffic police were seen cooperating with students in controlling traffic.
Khadiza Begum, a government employee on her way back from office, had to sit in a rickshaw during rain as the students forced the vehicles to maintain a single file.
When approached, she smiled and appreciated the students' effort.
“I can feel for them. They are doing something good for the society when no one cares. But they are only children. In this rain, they must fall ill. The government should meet their demands soon,” she told The Daily Star.
Due to the protest, many Dhaka-going buses did not leave Sylhet yesterday.
KHULNA: FOUR HIT BY CAR AS DRIVER TRIES TO FLEE
Students of Khulna city took control of the roads around 11:30am.
Around 700 students from BL College, Collegiate Girls' College, Government Model School, Khan Jahan Ali Polytechnic Institute, Khulna University, North Western University gathered at Shibbari intersection and chanted slogans. They stopped more than 10 cars and pickups which did not have proper documents.
Meanwhile, around 1:00pm, a car hit four protesters while the driver tried to flee.
In Barisal city, students stayed in C&B Road area from 11:00am to 1:00pm during heavy rain and checked papers of all types of vehicles.
Separately, a human chain was held in front of Barisal University. Students staged protests in the similar manner in Narayanganj city as well.