2nd Day Of 48 Hour Blockade Underway

Procession in support of blockade at Panthapath || Photo: Collected

Procession in support of blockade at Panthapath || Photo: Collected

The second day of the sixth round of the 48-hour countrywide blockade programme called by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies is underway for the second day on Thursday (November 23).

BNP, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, the Liberal Democratic Party, Ganatantra Mancha, Gono Odhikar Parishad, and other partners of the ongoing simultaneous movement brought out processions at places across the country.

The blockade began at 6:00am on Wednesday and will end at 6:00am on Friday. The opposition political parties are now on movement to press home their demands for the resignation of the Awami League government and the cancellation of the election schedule.

Reports received from all the divisional headquarters and a number of districts said that no long-route bus left the cities and districts since morning and the highways witnessed a few vehicles, mostly local transports.

Presence of law enforcement agencies in different important areas and intersection was noticeable. Members of Border Guard Bangladesh and Rapid Action Battalion patrol teams were deployed across Bangladesh to maintain law and order situatuin.

The ruling Awami League leaders and activists, mostly armed with sticks, were seen vigilant in different areas in a bid to resist the pro-blockade activists. They are also holding ‘peace-rallies’ to counter the opposition’s blockade programme.

In Dhaka, presence of public transport on Dhaka streets seemed to be higher compared to the previous blockades, despite heightened tension and fear of violence.

No long-route bus left three big terminals – Gabtali, Mahakhali and Sayedabad – but a few buses left Dhaka for nearby districts.

Visiting a number of schools, it was seen that scheduled examinations were going on.

BNP, Bangladesh Labour Party and Jamaat brought out processions in different part of the capital in the morning to support the blockade.

In Gazipur, a group of people set fire to two covered vans on Dhaka-Mymensingh highway at Salna in Gazipur city early Thursday. No casualty was reported.

Abdus Samad, station officer of Gazipur Fire Service, said that the blockade supporters set the covered vans on fire by pouring petrol on them.

In Sylhet, unidentified people set fire to a coach of Bangladesh Railwy’s intercity train Upaban Express, which was parked at Sylhet Railway Station at about 9:30pm on Wednesday.

After visiting the spot, Sylhet Metropolitan Police commissioner Md Elias Sharif said that from what police have seen so far, it’s an act of sabotage and added that the BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami parties were carrying out the sabotage in the name of hartal and blockade.

The sixth round of blockade began amid continued arrests, intimidation, attacks, and night-time raids on the houses of leaders and activists of opposition parties.

The opposition parties have enforced five spells of such a blockade since October 30, following a one-day dawn-to-dusk hartal on October 28, protesting an attack by police and ruling party people on the BNP’s October 28 grand rally in Dhaka.

The BNP and its allies observed a 48-hour countrywide hartal from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning after the Election Commission declared the schedule for the next general election on November 15.

BNP and its movement partner parties have been holding non-stop street demonstrations since the police and ruling party attacked its Dhaka grand rally on October 28.

After the foiled rally, police arrested nearly 15,000 BNP leaders and activists, including its secretary general, Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and standing committee members Mirza Abbas and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, across the country, the BNP said.

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