- Law enforcers yesterday obstructed BNP’s protest programmes at different places in the capital and elsewhere, the party claimed.
In a press release, the BNP said at least 20 leaders and activists of the party and its associate organisations were injured as police swooped on them during their protest.
The party had earlier announced yesterday’s protest programmes as police did not give it permission to hold rallies in the capital marking January 5 as “democracy killing day”.
Police on Friday foiled rallies and processions of the BNP and its associate bodies at different districts, including Khulna, Barisal and Chittagong. They also baton-charged BNP leaders and activists in Chittagong and Khulna.
On the other hand, the Awami League marked the day as “victory day for democracy” holding two rallies in Banani and on the Bangabandhu Avenue in addition to celebrations across the country.
In 2015, on the first anniversary of the January 5, 2014 election, violence erupted across the country stemming from rallies and counter rallies of both parties. The situation remained turbulent for several weeks.
That year, the BNP was not granted permission to hold a rally in front of its central office at Naya Paltan. Police kept BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia confined to her Gulshan office by blocking the streets with sand-laden trucks.
Khaleda then called for a countrywide nonstop blockade from January 6 in an attempt to topple the government. The blockade went on until the last week of March.
At least 100 people were killed and around 1,500 injured in arson attacks on public vehicles during the blockade.
In its press release yesterday, the BNP claimed that at least 20 of its men were injured when police swooped on them while they were bringing out a protest processions in Shahbagh and Rampura areas yesterday.
The party also claimed 10 BNP men were arrested from Shahbagh — the claim, however, was rejected by Officer-in-Charge of Shahbagh Police Station Abul Hasan.
The OC of Rampura Police Station, Proloy Kumar Saha, also denied allegations of baton charges on BNP processions.
Lambasting the ‘police attack’ on BNP men, party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday said the government moved to wipe out BNP’s existence from the country through repression.
“The government won’t be able to stop the people’s just movement despite arrest and torture of thousands of BNP leaders,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, four rallies of BNP were obstructed yesterday as the local administration imposed section 144 in Akhanagar, Ruhia, Patiadangi and Dholarhat areas of Thakurgaon sadar upazila.
Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Aslam Molla said they imposed section 144 in four areas since 10:00am, apprehending that the law and order situation may go out of control in the areas.
Officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station Abdul Latif Mia said police were deployed at four spots of rallies to avert any unwanted situation.
Mirza Fakhrul, who was scheduled to join the rallies, returned from the Shahjalal International Airport in the capital, cancelling the visit.
Meanwhile, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed at a press conference yesterday at the party’s Naya Paltan central office said the year 2018 will be the year of the people getting their rights back under the leadership of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
“The countdown to the end of the vote-less government has started,” Rizvi said.
Rizvi said Awami League will no more be able to use force to deter the forward march of the people.