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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Mass curfew, hartal called boycotting polls

  • AB Party calls lockdown for election day
  • Supporters clash with police in several districts
Update : 05 Jan 2024, 11:52 PM

Leaders and activists of the BNP and its associate bodies held a procession carrying sticks in Dhaka on Friday morning, demanding the government's resignation and cancellation of what the party has been terming a "one-sided" general election slated for Sunday.

They also called upon the people to boycott the election and not go to polling stations.

It happened as the party men clashed with the police in Comilla and attacked a diagnostic centre in Bhola after the police challenged them.

The protests keep intensifying amid repeated warnings against efforts to halt the election and heightened security.

Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi led the procession in the capital's Karwan Bazar neighborhood. They chanted various slogans against “unacceptable, farcical, and dummy” elections.

The procession was part of the BNP’s nationwide processions, alongside the distribution of leaflets and mass campaigns against the polls.

In a brief address after the procession, Rizvi said the government is trying to illegally hold a one-sided election by using state machinery.

“The country’s people will not accept this illegal election arranged by looters. We urge the people, including the leaders and workers of the BNP and its like-minded opposition parties, to boycott the dummy election,” he said.

He said the party favours truth, justice, freedom of expression, and people’s voting rights, while the ruling party favours plundering, siphoning off money abroad, and taking away people’s rights. “The victory is inevitable for those of us who stand for justice.”

In the last week of December, several senior BNP leaders said they will take to the streets from January 7 until the end of the election, defying any possible obstruction by the law enforcers as well as the army troops.

Hartal

The BNP and several like-minded parties, including Jamaat and the Liberal Democratic Party, have enforced a 48-hour hartal across the country at 6am on Saturday to protest the 12th parliamentary election.

The second day of hartal coincides with the much-talked-about election, which has already garnered global attention.

It is going to be the fifth spell of hartal by the BNP and like-minded parties since late October 29. The opposition parties enforced countrywide blockades for 23 days in 12 phases over the period.

More than 300 arsons, mostly targeting vehicles plying on roads, and several train sabotages have occurred since late October, killing at least eight people.

Mass curfew, lockdown

The 12-Party Alliance on Friday announced a nationwide “mass curfew” on election day, demanding a boycott of the polls and the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Besides following in BNP's footsteps, the alliance also announced a hartal Saturday and Sunday.

A faction of the Gono Odhikar Parishad, too, announced the same programs.

The Amar Bangladesh Party called for a countrywide lockdown on Sunday.

Clashes, arrests

At least 15 people, including three policemen, were injured in a clash between law enforcement and BNP activists in the Monohorpur area of Comilla on Friday morning.

The clash took place in front of Comilla Government Mohila College at around 10:30am when BNP leaders and activists held a procession. 

Firing by the police and hurling of brick chips by the BNP men were reported in the clash.

Chases and counter-chases also took place between the BNP men and the police.

The police detained two men in this connection.

In Bhola too, leaders and activists of the BNP and the police engaged in chases and counter-chases as the opposition party men brought out a procession in Ukil Para after the Jumma prayers. 

Some policemen took shelter at the Labaid diagnostic centre as the BNP men attacked the facility. 

However, the police finally managed to disperse them. 

In the district’s Char Fesson Upazila, the police on Friday arrested four BNP leaders and activists in an arson case filed in the afternoon, hours after a bus was set afire. 

Meanwhile, the police arrested five BNP leaders and activists while distributing anti-election leaflets in parts of Barisal on Friday.

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