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Thursday February 22, 2024

Bangladesh opposition vows to continue protests despite ‘autocratic’ crackdown

By AFP
November 30, 2023

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s main opposition party said on Wednesday it would continue its anti-government protests despite what a rights group called an “autocratic crackdown” ahead of a general election in January.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), whose top leadership is either jailed or in exile, has already said it will boycott the election if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina does not resign and allow a caretaker government to oversee the poll, to be held on Jan 7.

Supporters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) join in a rally at Naya Paltan area in Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 28, 2023. —Saltwire
Supporters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) join in a rally at Naya Paltan area in Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 28, 2023. —Saltwire

At least four people, including a policeman, have been killed and hundreds injured in violent protests across the country in the past few weeks, police said.

“Our peaceful and democratic protest programmes will continue in spite of the government crackdown on BNP, until the fundamental voting rights of the people of Bangladesh are restored,” Abdul Moyeen Khan, a former minister and member of the BNP’s highest policy-making body, told media.

Two people were injured in the capital, Dhaka, when a crude bomb exploded on Wednesday as a countrywide transport blockade called by the BNP was underway, police said.

Dozens of buses and vehicles have been set on fire over the past one month, authorities said.

“People have no civil rights, no guarantee of living in safety. In order to end this misrule and lawlessness, the ongoing movement must be accelerated and the victory of the people must be ensured,” senior BNP official Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said.