• Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Khaleda's jail sentence: Countrywide protests continue for 2nd day

Khaleda's jail sentence: Countrywide protests continue for 2nd day
BNP leaders and activists across Bangladesh continued to hod protests against the jail sentence of party chief Khaleda Zia for the second day on Friday, though a strong response from law enforcement agencies gave it a fading effect. Amid much tension, a special court on Thursday convicted former prime minister Khaleda Zia and sentenced her to five years’ imprisonment in the much-talked-about Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case. Five others accused in the case, including her son and BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman, were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment each. The court also fined the five accused Tk2.10 crore each. Major roads and highways across the country were out of traffic on Thursday as many apprehended violence centring the pronouncement of the verdict. Vehicular movement gradually returned to normalcy on Friday, as police acted promptly anywhere there were protests. In some places, BNP protesters were also kept in check by the heavy presence of ruling Awami League men on the streets. Police have also continued with the arrest spree targeting BNP leaders and activists. Addressing a press briefing at BNP's Naya Paltan central office in the evening on Friday, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Rizvi Ahmed claimed a total 3,850 leaders and activists of BNP had been arrested across the country over the last week. In Bagerhat, BNP leaders and activists failed to bring out any protest on Friday as police cordoned off the BNP city unit office throughout the day. Activists of Awami League and its affiliated organizations brought out a procession in the city to celebrate the verdict instead. Seven BNP-Jamaat activists from among 38 people were arrested from different areas of the district over the last 24 hours till Friday evening. [caption id="attachment_245925" align="alignleft" width="1920"] Police cordons off the district unit BNP office in Kurigram town Dhaka Tribune[/caption] In Kurigram, Chhatra Dal activists brought out a protest procession from Mojida College Mor. The procession ended at Thana Para Road in the morning. Chhatra League also brought out a procession from the district unit Awami League Office around noon to celebrate the verdict. The procession paraded important areas and ended again in front of Awami League Office. In Rajshahi, BNP activists held a protest rally in front of the party office in the morning amid heavy police presence around them. District unit Awami League also held a rally at Saheb Bazar Zero Point of the city. Although vehicular movement was sparse in the morning, it returned to normalcy by the afternoon. [caption id="attachment_245928" align="alignleft" width="1024"] BNP activists hold a protest rally at Nababbari Sarak amid heavy presence of police Dhaka Tribune[/caption] In Khulna, police detained 33 people including five BNP activists in an overnight drive in the metropolitan city. In Chittagong, a total 49 BNP men were sued in two cases in connection a clash on Thursday. At least 15 people including eight policemen were injured in a clash at party office Nasiman Bhaban in the city’s Kazir Dewri area centering on the verdict against Khaleda on Thursday. In Barisal, district unit BNP held a protest rally in front of Ashwinikumar Hall around 11am on Friday. In Tangail, police foiled a procession brought out by BNP activists in front of the party's district unit office around 11am. Later, the activists held an instant protest rally on the spot. In Jhenaidah, Awami League activists brought out a procession against BNP-Jamaat atrocities from in front the party's district unit office in HSS Sarak in the morning.
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In Chuadanga, eight activists of BNP and its students wing Chhatra Dal were arrested till noon Friday from Thursday night. In Bogra, activists of the BNP and its affiliate organizations were not allowed to leave the premises of the party's district unit office at the Nababbari area of the city. Police also thwarted a procession of Chhatra Dal activists at Fateh Ali Bazar in the morning. In Sylhet, a total of 200 people including BNP leaders and activists were sued in a case filed over Thursday's BNP-Awami League clash at Court Point area. At least five people, including a police constable, were injured during a clash between Awami League and BNP activists in Court Point area of the metropolitan around 2:30pm on Thursday, immediately after the verdict. Several vehicles were vandalized in different areas, including Laldighipar, of the city at the time. BNP activists in Jamalpur and Thakurgaon cities also held protest rallies in front of their party offices. In Chandpur, police dispersed a gathering of BNP activists on the Hasan Ali School grounds in the morning. Thirty-one of the protesters were detained from the spot. Several vehicles were vandalized in different areas, including Laldighipar, of the city at the time. BNP activists in Jamalpur and Thakurgaon cities also held protest rallies in front of their party offices. In Chandpur, police dispersed a gathering of BNP activists at Hasan Ali School ground in the morning. Thirty-one of the protesters were detained from the spot.