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Bangladesh opposition leader arrested before anti-government protest | Protest news


Two top leaders along with 500 supporters were arrested for inciting violence ahead of a planned protest in Dhaka against price hikes and rising cost of living.

Two senior leaders of Bangladesh’s main opposition party have been arrested by police, a day before a planned protest calling for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down over rising fuel prices and the cost of living. high.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, general secretary of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP), and Mirza Abbas, a former minister and member of the party’s top decision-making body, were taken from their homes around 3 a.m. on Wednesday. Friday (19:00 GMT) Thursday), Zahiruddin Swapan, the BNP’s head of communications, told AFP.

“They are plainclothes police. Alamgir knows their identities. They told him he was taken away by order of the senior commander,” Swapan said, adding that the group did not know where the two were taken.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Faruq Ahmed said the couple had been arrested on suspicion of inciting violence and obstructing government work during Wednesday’s clashes.

Protesters are demanding Prime Minister Hasina’s resignation in favor of new elections under a caretaker government. General elections will not take place until the end of next year.

Friday’s police action comes two days after security forces in the capital Dhaka fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a crowd of thousands of BNP supporters preparing for a December 10 demonstration. At least one person died and dozens were injured.

Swapan said police arrested “about 2,000” activists and party supporters in an attempt to disrupt a protest planned for Saturday.

However, Dhaka police gave a lower figure and said they had arrested 500 BNP activists on three separate charges, including assaulting a police officer during clashes near the central office of the Dhaka. party on Wednesday.

According to local media, police have also filed a lawsuit against 200 BNP leaders and activists alleging a crude bombing at a schoolyard in the southern coastal district of Babuganj.

Planned protest in Golapbag

Tensions were already running high in the capital ahead of a rally that the BNP said would draw hundreds of thousands of supporters from around the country.

Police insist they will not allow protests in front of the party office, which they call a “crime scene” after saying they found Molotov cocktails at the site.

Local media reported that checkpoints had been set up on routes into the city to prevent opposition activists from rural central areas from participating in the protests.

But a defiant Alamgir on Thursday told a news conference that the party planned to promote the event.

Police have allowed the opposition party to hold a public gathering at the Golapbag yard in the capital, denying the BNP’s request to hold a mass rally in front of its central office in Naya Paltan.

“I appeal to all of us [BNP] leaders and activists, as well as other parties interested in supporting us in the anti-government movement, attended Saturday’s rally in Golapbag,” BNP central leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said. know at a press conference.

The country’s The Daily Star Store speak The police imposed 26 conditions on the party to organize the rally.

The BNP, along with the majority of other political parties and civil society, has called on the government to restore the three-month system of non-political caregiving government in preparation for national elections in December. 2023. However, the ruling government of the Awami League rejected the request, arguing that it would be unconstitutional.

Independent observers say the past two general elections have been marred by boycotts and electoral negligence. BNP boycotted the 2014 election while the 2018 election marred by violence and threats of arrest and intimidation of opposition supporters.

Fifteen Western embassies issued a joint statement late Tuesday calling on the country to allow free speech, peaceful assembly and fair elections, with the United Nations issuing a similar statement. one day later.

Amnesty International’s Yamini Mishra said Wednesday’s violence showed the authorities “have little regard for the sanctity of human life and send a frightening message that those who dare to exercise human rights They will face dire consequences.”

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