AL to stay alert on the streets
The ruling Awami League and law enforcers will not create any obstacles but will remain alert during today's sit-in protest in the capital and other divisional headquarters by the BNP and 32 like-minded political parties, AL leaders said.
Centring the BNP's programme, leaders and activists of the AL and front organisations will bring out processions and take position at the offices of all units across the capital, while its Dhaka South and North units will hold rallies today.
AL sources said the government and the ruling party do not want any untoward incidents during the opposition's programme just ahead of the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu on January 14.
As part of their simultaneous movement, the BNP and like-minded parties will hold a sit-in to press home the 10-point demand that includes the resignation of the government, dissolution of parliament, transfer of power to a non-partisan caretaker government before the next national election, and formation of a new Election Commission.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police gave the BNP permission to stage the sit-in in front of its Nayapaltan office for four hours from 10:00am onwards.
However, the nod came on condition that the sit-in be held only on one side of the road so that the other side could be free for vehicular movement.
Sources said police warned legal action if both sides were blocked by the BNP.
The warning was made when a delegation, led by BNP Vice-Chairman AZM Zahid Hossain, met the DMP commissioner at the DMP headquarters last night.
Police will remain on high alert and a huge number of cops will be deployed across the capital to avoid unwanted situations.
Meanwhile, Dhaka North AL will hold a rally at the Eidgah Maidan in Mirpur around 2:30pm, and Dhaka South AL will hold one in front of the AL headquarters on Bangabandhu Avenue around 11:00am.
Obaidul Quader, AL general secretary, will be present in both the rallies.
"Our leaders and activists will take to the streets from the morning and will be on alert. We will not create any obstacle for the BNP's programme. We will resist only if they try to create chaos," Sheikh Bazlur Rahman, president of Dhaka North AL, told the Daily Star.
Dhaka South AL President Abu Ahmed Mannafi told this correspondent that party activists will be on the roads and remain vigilant.
"The BNP cannot be trusted. It can do anything and thus, we asked our activists to remain alert without creating any obstacles."
Meanwhile, Chhatra League, the pro-AL student body, announced its own counter sit-in at the capital's Shahbagh intersection from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, at a programme in the city yesterday, warned that any public sufferings or acts of anarchy centring the BNP's sit-in will not be tolerated.
He, however, said the opposition party will not face any obstruction and will be allowed to hold a peaceful protest.
"Law enforcers will only take action if they [the BNP] block roads, or carry out vandalism or other destructive activities in the name of a mass sit-in," he said.