The demonstrators demand abolition of the Digital Security Act
Police have intercepted protesters near the secretariat in Dhaka as they attempted to lay siege to the Home Ministry over the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in prison.
A number of activists of the left-leaning student organizations took positions on the street near the secretariat on Monday afternoon and staged demonstrations after being barred from marching forward.
During the demonstrations, they also demanded the release of cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore and their arrested fellows as well as abolition of the Digital Security Act (DSA).
As part of a scheduled program, over a hundred activists of Progressive Students' Alliance started their procession from the Dhaka University campus around 12pm.
When they reached near the secretariat, police obstructed them.
A scuffle took place between police and the protesters as they tried to march forward crossing the barricades erected by the law enforcers.
At that time, the demonstrators took position there to register their protests.
Meanwhile, police took three-layer security measures in the area to avert any untoward situation.
Nasir Uddin Prince, general secretary of a faction of Socialist Students' Front, said: "Police already have put barricades on some points. Our movement will continue till the abolition of the Digital Security Act and release of the detained fellows. We will wage tougher movements if it is needed."
Iqbal Kabir, president of Biplabi Chhatra Maitree, said: "We have taken to the streets taking oath to be arrested. No matter how much blood is shed, we will not tolerate the act [DSA] anymore."
The demonstrators, however, ended the protest for the day around 1pm saying that they will announce the next course of action from a press conference soon.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Deputy Commissioner (Ramna zone) Harun-or-Rashid said the law enforcers did not prevent them from holding their demonstrations.
"They have peacefully ended the protest and returned," he added.
Protests raged in the capital on February 26 and continued since then over the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in Gazipur's Kashimpur High Security Prison on February 25.
The 53-year-old writer was behind bars since May last year following his arrest along with Kishore in the capital in a case filed under the Digital Security Act lodged by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) with Ramna police station.
They along with nine others were charged with propagating disinformation against the government on social media.
An unnatural death case has been filed with the Gazipur Metropolitan Police's Sadar police station in connection with the custodial death.
Meanwhile, two probe bodies have been formed by the Home Ministry and the Gazipur district administration to look into the death.
On February 26 evening, at least 35 people were injured in a clash between police and activists of the left-leaning organizations who gathered in the Dhaka University area to stage protests.
The incident took place when the protesters brought out a vigil in the area.
Police on Saturday filed a case against seven people, arrested during the clash, for obstructing the law enforcers in performing their duties.