At least four countries have issued travel alerts for Bangladesh requesting their citizens to avoid areas that generate large crowds and to monitor local media.
The governments of United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have issued these alerts on their websites.
The US Embassy in Dhaka on February 6 issued a demonstration alert throughout Dhaka and all major cities in Bangladesh.
“Demonstrations may take place on February 8, 2018 in conjunction with the expected announcement of a verdict in a court case against opposition leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. Demonstrations may or may not affect local transportation services, schools, shopping malls, and infrastructure,” it said.
“Previous protests in Bangladesh have turned violent, resulting in lengthy traffic disruptions, injuries, and deaths. Participants are known to throw rocks, debris, and small homemade explosive devices. Security forces are known to use tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators, including firearms with rubber bullets,” it warned.
It requested US citizens in Bangladesh to monitor local news, expect heavier than normal traffic congestion throughout the day, avoid large crowds and protests, and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
The United Kingdom on February 7 issued foreign travel advice for Bangladesh, asking its citizens to be vigilant at all times and stay away from large gatherings and avoid political offices and rallies.
Also on February 7 the Canadian government informed its citizens in Bangladesh that the verdict in a court case involving Bangladesh’s opposition leader will be announced on February 8 which may cause demonstrations across the country. “Demonstrations can turn violent at any time and lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation,” it said, requesting citizens to avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, follow instructions of local authorities and monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
Australian government also added a warning, saying the verdict may disrupt traffic and public transport including in the vicinity of the Australian High Commission.
A verdict is set to be delivered by Dhaka’s Fifth Special Judge’s Court on February 8 in a case against BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, her eldest son BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman and four others.