-- Shahbagh, Purana Paltan intersections blocked for nearly 6 hrs
-- Hartal supporters ransack window glasses of bus
-- Vehicles remained halted at different points
-- Procession brought out
The half-day hartal enforced by Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) protesting the recent gas price hike passed peacefully today except for a few incidents of picketing.
During the hartal, the pickets staged sit-in Shahbagh and Purana Paltan intersections, disrupting traffic movement
The LDA activists, a coalition of eight left-leaning political parties, ended their hartal by holding a rally the intersection around 1:15pm, our staff correspondent reports from the spot.
Addressing the rally, LDA coordinator Mosharraf Hossain Nannu announced new programes to press home their demand.
If the government does not take any initiative regarding to the gas price hike immediately, they will besiege the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources on July 14, he said.
The LDA will also stage demonstration across the country on the day.
During the hartal, the leaders and activists of Pragatishil Chhatra Jote started a sit-in blocking the Shahbagh intersection for nearly six hours starting from 7:30am in support of the hartal, our Dhaka University correspondent reports from the spot.
The hartal supporters partially blocked the Purana Paltan intersection from 6:00am to 1:00pm.
The LDA activists stopped a bus and broke its window glasses at the intersection around 9:00am, creating panic in the area. Police picked up two protesters from the spot but they were released after 10 minutes.
Earlier around 8:00am, pickets assaulted a biker as he refused to stop his bike at Purana Paltan.
At one stage, the leaders and activists of LDA took position at Purana Paltan intersection, halting traffic movement till Nightangle intersection.
However, they took a few minutes break due to rain. They were seen chanting slogans in protest against gas price hike.
The activists also brought out a procession from Nightangle intersection and paraded Purana Paltan, Zero Point and Press club areas.
The members of left-leaning parties were seen picketing by torching tyre in Shahbagh area, reports our staff photograph from the spot.
Besides, the pickets were seen halting vehicles by putting logs on different roads since the hartal began at 6:00am.
WHY DID LEFT PARTIES ENFORCE HARTAL?
On July 1, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) raised the gas tariff for all users. According to the new tariff, households using a single burner will pay Tk 925 instead of Tk 750 a month. Those using a double burner will pay Tk 975 in place of Tk 800.
LDA called the shutdown from 6:00am to 2:00pm protesting the government’s decision of gas price and said the government has increased the gas price illogically. The price hike will increase daily expenditures of mass people and cause pubic sufferings, the LDA leaders said.