Indefinite blockade in Bangladesh from Jan 1

Dhaka, Dec 31: Bangladesh’s main opposition party-led 18-party alliance has announced a non-stop blockade of roads, railways, and waterways across the country from Wednesday to prevent the scheduled Jan 5 parliamentary elections.

Khandker Mahbub Hossain, adviser to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia, announced it at a press briefing Monday evening from his residence.

Stating that the opposition would hold nationwide demonstrations Tuesday to protest the obstructions to their “March for Democracy”, Hossain said the non-stop nationwide blockade would continue until further announcement.

The opposition’s fresh programmes came amid a crackdown and arrests of BNP leaders as the two major political parties are feuding over conducting parliamentary polls.

The opposition wants Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League party to transfer power to a neutral caretaker government to oversee polls — the practice adopted in previous votes.

The opposition, which has long been on the street demanding a non-party poll-time dispensation, had enforced nationwide blockades several times after the Election Commission announced the election schedule.

Nearly 100 people died during the previous blockades across the country.

On Dec 24, Zia called for a “March for Democracy” to Dhaka from Dec 29 and a rally in the capital to thwart the polls. But she failed to join the programmes as police barred her from leaving her residence.

The BNP-led opposition alliance had vowed to continue the march for democracy Monday, but security personnel again thwarted the attempt.

IANS