The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) say they will not obstruct any political programmes if they are peaceful.
“Neither the state nor the police will bar a peaceful programme,” DMP Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia told the media on Wednesday.
“We will not allow any demonstration that blocks the roads and causes public sufferings. We will also prevent any attempt at carrying out subversive activities,” he added.
The veiled warning came a day before a Dhaka court is scheduled to deliver a verdict on BNP chief Khaleda Zia in a corruption case.
Bangladesh has bitter memories of the BNP’s violent street protests in 2013 and 2015 during which dozens of people were killed and hundreds of others were injured, many maimed for life.
Since then, the BNP and its allies have largely been absent on the streets.
Tension is brewing as the ruling Awami League and the BNP have taken preparations to occupy the streets on Thursday.
More than a thousand BNP leaders and activists have been detained across Bangladesh in the last few days, the party claims, blaming the government and police of attempting to thwart their demonstration.
Asaduzzaman brushed off the allegation, saying they were not making mass arrests in Dhaka. “If anyone lodges complain about indiscriminate arrests, we will investigate it and take legal actions,” he added.
More than 200 suspects were arrested until Sunday over the attack on police in front of the High Court on January 30. Seven policemen are still undergoing treatment, the DMP chief said.
“We have arrested three attackers based on specific information and evidence,” he said. “They have admitted to carrying out the attack.”
Security has been ratcheted up across the country to prevent untoward incidents during Khaleda’s verdict.
“Protecting the people is our duty,” Asaduzzaman said, warning that police would not let off anyone trying to create unrest.