The BNP-led 18-party alliance yesterday called another three-day blockade of roads, rail and waterways from 6:00am today, hours after one ended leaving at least 19 people dead and scores injured.
The opposition said it was enforcing this blockade to press for immediate cancellation of the polls schedule and to protest implication of senior leaders in "false cases", especially the one filed yesterday for Thursday's arson attack on a bus in Shahbagh, and torture and repression of its activists.
BNP insiders, however, said the main reason was to resist the aspirants of the next parliamentary polls from submitting their nomination papers.
The Election Commission has fixed December 2 as the last date for submission of nomination papers.
BNP Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed announced the blockade at a press conference in the party's Nayapaltan headquarters around 9:30pm.
The announcement came just 12 hours before the programme begins, putting thousands of people travelling in harm's way.
For many people, the late announcement meant they did not get enough time to rearrange their day's activities.
The blockade deals a further blow to the country's education sector, as the government last night once again had to reschedule today's primary and ebtedai terminal exams. The exams will be held on December 6, from 9:30am to 12:00pm.
On top of that, like previous hartals and blockade the opposition alliance did not make clear which sectors would remain out of the blockade's purview.
Meanwhile, the BNP staged quite a drama in announcing its programme. Since the morning, it held three press conferences to finally come up with the blockade.
In the first briefing around 11:30am, it had announced countrywide demonstrations for today demanding cancellation of the polls schedule and protesting “ruling party men's involvement in arson and vandalism” during the opposition's 71-hour blockade.
It also said that it had sought permission for holding a rally in Suhrawardy Udyan.
In the second press conference around 7:30pm, it said police had not allowed it to organise the rally and protesting the decision, it would hold rallies at all thanas in the capital.
The final decision came two hours later.
Party insiders said the duration of the blockade might be extended or the opposition might go for tougher agitation if BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and other top leaders are arrested.
Sources in the BNP said the opposition alliance might come up with a weeklong blockade from December 8 if the UN's move fails to break the political deadlock over the general election.
Since October 27, the opposition enforced hartals for 10 days and blockade for 71 hours that claimed 40 lives and wounded several hundred others.
Meanwhile, Mirza Fakhrul yesterday urged the Election Commission to suspend the polls schedule immediately and take necessary steps for holding an inclusive election through a consensus.
He was addressing a gayebana janaza in front of BNP's Nayapaltan central office after Juma prayers.