We demand answer from admin
They were from all walks of life -- university teachers, students and other professionals -- but their voices were united.
Outraged, they blocked the busy Shahbagh intersection, carrying placards and chanting slogans like "Why were temples attacked?", "We demand answers from administration" and "Minority Ministry must be formed".
Joining hands together, the protesters vowed to sweep out communal forces from the country.
Along with the capital, demonstrations and rallies were organised in different districts in protest of the attacks on temples, houses and shops during the recent Durga Puja celebrations.
The demonstrators demanded highest punishment of the attackers.
The spate of atrocities on the Hindus started on October 13 in Cumilla after word spread that the "Holy Quran was demeaned".
Subsequently, in phases, the violence spread to other districts including Chandpur, Noakhali, Kishoreganj, Chattogram, Feni and Rangpur.
Attacks were launched on at least 70 Hindu temples across the country, reported BBC Bangla quoting Bangladesh Hindu-Buddha Christian Oikya Parishad.
At least six people have died as a result of the violence, BBC added.
In Dhaka, several thousand people blocked the Shahbagh intersection for around three hours since 11:45am yesterday.
They carried placards and chanted different anti-communal slogans.
Joydeep Datta, a Dhaka University student of linguistics department, placed a seven-point demand in the protest programme.
The demands include highest punishment of the attackers, renovation of the affected temples, establishing a separate ministry or commission for the minorities and compensation for the looted shops and houses of Hindus.
A five-member representative of the protesters went to the Prime Minister's Office to place a memorandum with the demands.
Around 2:30pm, the protesters withdrew their blockade setting a 24-hour ultimatum to fulfil their demands.
"If the government doesn't fulfil the demands, we will block the Shahbagh intersection again and continue our protest," said Joydeep.
"We want exemplary punishment for those involved in these attacks," demanded Prof Mihir Lal Saha, provost of DU's Jagannath Hall, during the protest.
In a separate programme yesterday evening, the Progressive Student Alliance staged a demonstration in front of the National Museum and demanded punishment of the attackers, ensuring safety of minorities and resignation of the home minister for "his failure to provide security to minorities".
Separately, Chhatra Odhikar Parishad brought out a torch procession from TSC to the Central Shaheed Minar in the evening, voicing similar demands.
In Chattogram, different organisations staged protest programmes demanding arrest and exemplary punishment of the attackers. Chattogram Mahanagar Puja Udjapan Parishad formed a human chain in front of Chattogram Press Club.
"If the attacks are not stopped, we would be compelled to declare tougher programmes," said Ashish Bhattacharjee, president of the parishad's city unit.
Chattogramer Sarbasthorer Nagarik Samaj organised a protest rally at Cheragi intersection in the afternoon, where eminent academicians, poets and other dignitaries spoke.
In Cumilla, a 20-member delegation of Dhaka University Teachers' Association (DUTA) yesterday visited puja mandaps of Nanua Dighirpar area, which came under attack on October 13.
In Tangail, several hundred people of the Hindu community formed a human chain and staged demonstration in front of the Tangail Press Club and Shaheed Minar in the morning.
At Rajshahi University, several hundred students and teachers formed a human chain at the university's Paris Road.
In Munshiganj, a human chain and protest rally was held in front of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple at noon.
In Narayanganj, hundreds of people under the banner of ISKCON and Sree Sree Radhagovinda Temple brought out processions and marched through different streets.
At Chittagong University, an associate professor of the Department of Geography and Environment department, Md Atikur Rahman staged a solo protest for one hour from 10:00am in front of the Joy Bangla sculpture.
In Lalmonirhat, several thousand people staged a demonstration and brought out a protest procession in the town. ISKCON organised the programme.
[Our correspondents from different districts contributed to the report]