Bangladesh opposition’s Dhaka March also on Monday

Dhaka, Dec 29: Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) supremo Khaleda Zia Sunday announced that the opposition’s march to Dhaka, protesting the holding of the next general elections under the ruling Awami League, will continue Monday.

Being barred by law enforcers from attending the march, former prime minister Khaleda Zia talked to media for a short while and said: “Our march programme will continue on Monday,” Xinhua reported.

She said the incumbent government is “illegal” and “undemocratic”. “This government is plotting to stay in power,” Zia said.

The opposition’s “March for Democracy” Sunday triggered widespread violence in parts of the capital, leaving two dead and dozens injured.

Dhaka remained virtually cut off from the rest of the country since Saturday morning with security personnel forming a cordon round it not allowing any ingress.

One Jamaat activist was killed and dozens were injured as Bangladesh opposition supporters clashed with the ruling party activists and law enforcers in Dhaka.

A Bangladesh railway security personnel was killed and two others were injured in a bomb blast at a railway station in Dhaka.

Stray incidents of clashes, explosions of Molotov cocktails, and torching and vandalism of vehicles were also reported elsewhere in the country.

Earlier, Zia got in her car to attend the march in front of her party’s headquarters in Dhaka’s downtown Naya Paltan area but was barred from leaving her house, where she remained virtually confined since the announcement of the protest programme earlier in the week.

Zia Tuesday urged people from all walks of life to join the march Sunday towards Dhaka to put pressure on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to scrap the parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan 5.

Dhaka Police did not give permission to BNP for the march.

Police put up barricades on both sides of the road leading to Khaleda Zia’s house since Saturday evening. Security was further beefed up Sunday morning in and around her house in Dhaka’s diplomatic enclave Gulshan.

The ruling Awami League party has vowed to resist the march and asked its activists to guard all entry points leading to Dhaka.

All modes of transport bound for the capital stopped plying Saturday in an apparent move to keep opposition activists from carrying out their march.

BNP and its 17 allies, including the Jammat-e-Islami, have asked Hasina to allow installation of a non-party caretaker system, or else the opposition will not participate in the next general elections because it fears an election without a non-party caretaker government will not be free and fair.

IANS