Ride-sharing motorcyclists staged protests by blocking several thoroughfares in the capital
Protests have erupted in different parts of Dhaka city, demanding an end to the weeklong lockdown on its third day.
Earlier, the government announced the lifting of restrictions on public transport in city corporation areas from Wednesday, amid nationwide restrictions.
The decision triggered anger among other commercial sectors and ride-sharing motorbike riders across the city.
At Gulistan, readymade garments sellers held a demonstration demanding the reopening of their shops maintaining health protocol.
The protesters, under the banner of Cooperative Society for Dhaka Readymade Garments Businessmen, took position in front of Phulbaria Super Market 2 and blocked the road in front of BRTC terminal.
Addressing the protest, the forum’s President Md Abdul Mannan said a tougher movement would be launched if the government does not permit them to reopen their shops.
He also said the businessmen will open the shops on their own, if necessary, but will not bear the suffering.
Later, a chase and counter-chase took place when police tried to remove the blockade from the road around 11am.
Police, however, claimed they asked them to leave the street to reduce traffic congestion, but the protesters got into an altercation and at one stage started throwing brickbats towards law enforcement officials.
Police gave chase to disperse them, and no one was reported injured, a law enforcement official told Dhaka Tribune.
Moreover, shop owners and workers of Bashundhara City Shopping mall held a protest at Panthapath, demanding the immediate reopening of shops and markets. They sought the intervention of the prime minister and the city corporation mayor in the issue.
Meanwhile, shop owners and employees at New Market and adjacent shopping malls staged demonstrations for the fourth consecutive day, protesting the closure of shopping malls due to the lockdown.
They demanded that the government allow markets to be open for four hours a day during the shutdown.
Demo by ride-sharing motorcyclists
Ride-sharing motorcyclists staged protests by blocking several thoroughfares in the capital, including the airport road, MES intersection, Mirpur, Moghbazar and National Press Club road, on Wednesday.
Police dispersed the ride-sharing motorcyclists hours after they blocked the Moghbazar intersection demanding an end to the ban on ride-sharing services by the government.
Md Abul Basher, a ride-sharing motorcyclist who joined the protest in Mirpur area, told this newspaper: “I was supporting my family with the earnings from ride-sharing alone since losing a private job during the Covid-19. My family of four will starve if this service does not resume.
“Ride-sharing is safer than travelling in public transports in terms of spreading the Covid-19. If public transports are resumed, then why the authorities still keep our service shut?” he questioned.
He also claimed police chased the while they were peacefully protesting in near Sony Cinema Hall in Mirpur.
Mirpur police station Officer-in-Charge (OC) Mostajirur Rahman said there was no incident of police chasing the protesters, who dispersed after holding their protest.
Shah Ali police station OC ABM Asaduzzaman told Dhaka Tribune many motorcyclists gathered at the Mirpur 10 intersection for an hour and then left.
The city-wide blockades brought vehicular movement to a stand still for several hours.
Over 100 motorcyclists operating their vehicles under ride-sharing services demonstrated in front of Press Club around 10:30am, protesting cases filed against them for operating during the weeklong restriction on public movement and transports.
The freshly imposed lockdown will be continued till April 11. Government on the second day of the restriction ordered to resume the public transports in 12 city corporation areas, with all transports to operate at half passenger capacity.
Visits to public areas of the capital found many people continuing to flout health guidelines on the third day of the lockdown.
Many shopkeepers in the Farmgate and Karwan Bazar areas were seen selling products secretly after closing time.