Dhaka: Bangladesh Nationalist Party in huge anti-govt rally
Tens of thousands of supporters of Bangladesh’s main Opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), on Saturday held a “grand rally” in the capital here demanding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and fresh elections.
Seven BNP lawmakers announced their resignations to protest against the government led by Hasina. Dhaka’s Golapbagh area, the venue of the rally, was under heavy security surveillance. The party activists chanted, “Sheikh Hasina is a vote thief”, as the party leaders addressed the rally in Dhaka.
Residents of the capital, including office-goers, faced difficulties and many were seen waiting for public transport on the road since morning. Activists say the rally could have attracted 1 million people.
The ruling Awami League activists also staged several pro-government processions.
Seven BNP lawmakers announced their resignation at the rally. “We had joined the parliament in line with the party’s decision but now there is no difference between staying or quitting...we have already emailed our resignations (to parliament secretariat),” BNP lawmaker Rumin Farhana told the rally.
She called the incumbent government an “autocratic” one and alleged it came to power by “rigging the polls”, torturing the Opposition party leaders, carrying out forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and engaging in corruption.
“I am resigning in protest (against the government activities),” Farhana said, adding that she and six other fellow BNP lawmakers would deliver their resignations by hand to the Speaker’s office on Sunday.
Police arrested several senior BNP leaders, including secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and scores of activists under different charges ahead of the rally.
“It is their fundamental right to stage rallies... we allowed them to stage it since it is not an illegal rally,” Dhaka police said.