Police obstructed a sit-in programme organised by anti-Rampal activists of Chittagong in the port city protesting the government decision to set up a coal-fired power plant near the Sundarbans.
As part of the countrywide programme, the Chittagong chapter of National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports organised the sit-in protest at the city's Cheragi Pahar intersection.
Failing to stage the sit-in following the police move, the protesters gathered in front of Chittagong Press Club and held a rally, that too amid police barricades.
[caption id="attachment_49011" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
A law enforcer charges a baton on a protester in Chittagong's anti-Rampal programme on February 25, 2017 Dhaka Tribune
The protesters and police also locked into a scuffle, leading to a series of chases and counter-chases in front of the press club on Saturday morning.
Hasan Maruf Rumee, an local organiser of the committee, alleged that police swooped on their peaceful programme and snatched away their banner.
According to him, five protesters were injured after police charged at them with batons.
When contacted, Jahangir Alam, Chittagong Metropolitan Police's senior assistant commissioner (Kotwali Zone), defended his colleagues saying that the protesters did not take prior permission from law enforcers.
The protesters, as he claimed, were trying to halt traffic on a busy thoroughfare, causing police to disperse them.
[caption id="attachment_49012" align="aligncenter" width="800"]
Anti-Rampal protesters and law enforcers engage in a scuffle in Chittagong on February 25, 2017 Dhaka Tribune
Refuting the allegation, another anti-Rampal activist, Hasan Maruf Rumee, said it was not necessary at all to take permission from police for their peaceful protest.
“Police violated our democratic rights by obstructing the sit-in programme,” he said.
The National Committee has been demanding cancellation of the 1,320MW coal-fired power plant project since 2011. Despite continued protests that garnered international support as well, construction of the much-hyped project will start in late March.