• Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:30 pm

ED: Allowing large rallies is unwise in these times

  • Published at 12:49 am October 30th, 2020
Protest Islami Andolan Bangladesh prophet caricature
Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Social distancing protocols are still more important than ever

The right to protest peacefully is a given in any democracy, but the recent rally we have seen, of thousands of people marching to object to the French government’s actions, simply cannot be condoned. At the very least, these rallies pose severe health risks to the nation.

On Tuesday, approximately 40,000 protesters -- associated with the Islami Andolon Bangladesh --marched in the direction of the French Embassy to protest recent statements by President Emmanuel Macron, who had defended the right to publish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the aftermath of the murder of a school-teacher in Paris.

There can be no justification, no excuse, for such a large gathering of people at a time when the country, and much of the world, has to be extra cautious about a second wave hitting the country. It seems as though Bangladesh is still recovering from the first wave, and even though most operations and public movement have resumed, social distancing protocols are still more important than ever.

The rally of Islami Andolon seen on Tuesday broke every precautionary rule. Almost no one was seen wearing masks, and any kind of distancing would be a fanciful idea amid such swarming crowds. This is irresponsible behaviour, and the government has plenty of justification to halt such activities.

Recently, masks have been mandated in the country, and the rules state those without masks will be refused service. These protocols should be enforced without exception. 

Protesters may generate great force through numbers and intimidation, but it is up to the government to lay down the law of the land. Otherwise, matters descend into chaos, and all our efforts in these past few months will have been in vain.

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