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 dwelling.
Bangladesh police have fired rubber bullets and tear gasoline at stone-throwing opposition occasion supporters blocking main roads within the capital Dhaka to demand the prime minister’s resignation.
Supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Get together (BNP) on Saturday set fireplace to buses and exploded petrol bombs, in line with police and native media, as they demanded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina step down and that the subsequent election, anticipated early subsequent yr, be held underneath a impartial caretaker authorities.
The occasion, in disarray since its chief Khaleda Zia was jailed in 2018 on corruption expenses, has held larger protest rallies in current months, together with one on Friday, drawing tens of hundreds of supporters amid anger about the price of dwelling.
On Saturday, the BNP stated dozens of its supporters had been injured. Police stated no less than 20 officers had been damage within the clashes. At the very least 90 individuals had been arrested, whereas two senior BNP leaders had been taken into police custody and later freed, police stated.
Senior BNP chief Abdul Moyeen Khan denounced the police motion as an “injustice”.
“Right now’s rampant motion … solely confirmed the autocratic nature of the ruling regime and totally exposes their motives to stay in energy by a rigged election,” he instructed the Reuters information company, including that police had been looking for to curtail individuals’s “basic proper of affiliation”.
Faruq Ahmed, a spokesman for the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, stated, “Our power was attacked with none cause. They had been solely attempting to ease the visitors move.”
“We needed to fireplace tear gasoline and rubber bullets to regulate the scenario,” he stated.
TV footage confirmed police utilizing batons to beat protesters on the road.
Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from Dhaka, stated pressure was palpable within the streets as residents braced for extra violence. The governing Awami League occasion known as for a counter-protest on Sunday, whereas the opposition known as for extra common mobilisation on Monday.
“Meals costs are spiralling uncontrolled for common individuals they don’t seem to be capable of purchase as they used to so there’s a main discontent among the many public,” Chowdhury stated.
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 Worldwide, stated earlier this month that escalating tensions in Bangladesh had been “alarming.”
“Folks needs to be free to protest and dissent. By muffling their voices, the federal government is signalling that having totally different political opinions just isn’t tolerated throughout the nation,” Kaviratne stated, calling on police to “train restraint”.
Tanvir Shakil Pleasure, a member of parliament for the Awami League, rejected accusations of extreme use of power.
“BNP and affiliated events torched greater than seven buses and blocked the freeway, then police took motion as a result of no political occasion can violate the motion rights of widespread individuals,” he instructed Al Jazeera.
Based on the legislator, the federal government had expressly forbidden protesters of any affiliation to dam the principle entry factors of the capital.
He stated that the 2 senior BNP leaders had been detained preemptively as they “may 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.