BNP goes for fresh protests
The BNP has announced protest marches in all unions across the country on February 11 to press home its 10-point demand, which includes election under a non-party caretaker government.
The marches will be held to protest the price hikes of essentials, including gas, electricity and water, said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a rally in front of the party's Nayapaltan office yesterday.
The rally was organised by the party's Dhaka South and North units. It also organised simultaneous rallies in nine other divisional cities.
Fakhrul said they will hold marches at district, upazila and metropolitan levels after the union-level programme. "The Awami League government will be overthrown through these movements.
"We are moving slowly. We have already got the people's attention through our marches. We are heading forward with their support. We want to form a state for the people by defeating them [AL]."
He asked all BNP leaders and activists to come forward to overthrow the government.
Meanwhile at a separate rally, the new 12-party alliance, including National Unity Front, National Democratic Unity Front, Jatiyatabadi Samamona Jote, ALDP, Gono Forum, and People's Party, announced its own march on the same date.
Fakhrul said the election cannot be fair under this government and it was proven yet again in the latest by-elections.
"We saw how helpless the government was to a candidate like Hero Alam. The government had to employ the state machinery to defeat him by 600-700 votes."
He added that an opponent candidate in the Brahmanbaria-2 polls was "forced to disappear" to ensure the "government candidate" Abdul Sattar's win.
About the price hike of the commodities, he said the people have been struggling to cope.
"The government is destroying the people's future. They are taking loans for development … That money is laundered to Canada, London and Malaysia to build 'second homes'. Why do the people have to repay the loan and bear the burden?"
About the underground metro rail, he said that this project will cost Tk 52,000 crore. In contrast, the government has stopped paying allowances to the poor.
"The government is trying to turn the country into a failed state," he said.
During the rally yesterday, vehicular movement came to a halt and many commuters were seen leaving their vehicles to move on foot.
Abdus Salam, convener of BNP Dhaka South, presided over the programme.
Meanwhile in Chattogram, a clash broke out between two factions of the BNP in front of senior leaders during its divisional rally. However, no casualties were reported.
The incident took place around 2:30pm in front of the party office at Nasiman Bhaban in Kazir Dewri area.
The two groups engaged into two more clashes later.
However, police intervened and detained a person. He was later released after senior leaders said it was "all a mistake", said Jahedul Kabir, officer-in-charge of Kotwali Police Station.
Thousands of leaders and activists from different districts of Chattogram thronged the venue since morning.
The Chattogram divisional rally, presided over by the division's BNP Convener Shahadat Hossain, began around 2:00pm. Standing Committee member Nazrul Islam Khan was present as the chief guest, while the party's Vice President Abdullah AL Noman was the key speaker.
In Jhenidah, BNP leaders and activists alleged they were beaten up by AL men in Kaliganj upazila while they were on their way to the divisional rally venue in Khulna yesterday. The AL men allegedly also vandalised buses and microbuses carrying opposition activists at Bara Bazar around 10:30am.