Supporters of the BNP are calling on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and for a caretaker authorities to be appointed, amid anger about the price of residing.
Bangladesh police have fired rubber bullets and tear fuel at stone-throwing opposition celebration supporters blocking main roads within the capital Dhaka to demand the prime minister’s resignation.
Supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) on Saturday set fireplace to buses and exploded petrol bombs, in accordance with police and native media, as they demanded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina step down and that the following election, anticipated early subsequent yr, be held beneath a impartial caretaker authorities.
The celebration, in disarray since its chief Khaleda Zia was jailed in 2018 on corruption costs, has held greater protest rallies in current months, together with one on Friday, drawing tens of 1000’s of supporters amid anger about the price of residing.
On Saturday, the BNP mentioned dozens of its supporters had been injured. Police mentioned not less than 20 officers had been harm within the clashes. At least 90 folks had been arrested, whereas two senior BNP leaders had been taken into police custody and later freed, police mentioned.
Senior BNP chief Abdul Moyeen Khan denounced the police motion as an “injustice”.
“Today’s rampant action … only confirmed the autocratic nature of the ruling regime and fully exposes their motives to remain in power through a rigged election,” he instructed the Reuters information company, including that police had been searching for to curtail folks’s “fundamental right of association”.
Faruq Ahmed, a spokesman for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, mentioned, “Our force was attacked without any reason. They were only trying to ease the traffic flow.”
“We had to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to control the situation,” he mentioned.
TV footage confirmed police utilizing batons to beat protesters on the road.
Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from Dhaka, mentioned rigidity was palpable within the streets as residents braced for extra violence. The governing Awami League celebration known as for a counter-protest on Sunday, whereas the opposition known as for extra fashionable mobilisation on Monday.
“Food prices are spiralling out of control for average people they are not able to buy as they used to so there is a major discontent among the public,” Chowdhury mentioned.
Protesters additionally accuse the federal government of staging fraudulent elections in 2014 and 2018.
Cracking down on protests
Western governments and rights teams have criticised the federal government for cracking down on anti-government protests.
Yasasmin Kaviratne, regional campaigner for South Asia at Amnesty International, mentioned earlier this month that escalating tensions in Bangladesh had been “alarming.”
“People should be free to protest and dissent. By muffling their voices, the government is signalling that having different political views is not tolerated within the country,” Kaviratne mentioned, calling on police to “exercise restraint”.
Tanvir Shakil Joy, a member of parliament for the Awami League, rejected accusations of extreme use of drive.
“BNP and affiliated parties torched more than seven buses and blocked the highway, then police took action because no political party can violate the movement rights of common people,” he instructed Al Jazeera.
According to the legislator, the federal government had expressly forbidden protesters of any affiliation to dam the principle entry factors of the capital.
He mentioned that the 2 senior BNP leaders had been detained preemptively as they “could have been injured” within the protests and had been launched shortly after.
Prime Minister Hasina, who has maintained tight management since coming to energy in 2009, has been accused of authoritarianism, human rights violations, cracking down on free speech and suppressing dissent whereas jailing her critics.