Situation remains tense in Bangladesh’s capital

Eurasia News

DHAKA: Although no major violence erupted in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Monday morning but the situation remained tense after the country’s main opposition party announced a day ago that it would continue the protest in defiance of a government ban on large political gatherings, Dispatch News Desk reported.

Hundreds of police personnel cordoned off the headquarters of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in Dhaka on Sunday and used water cannons to disperse anti-government activists in a bid to prevent a mass rally called by the BNP leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in an effort to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to cancel January 5 elections and hand over power to a caretaker government to oversee the vote.

Police barred Khaleda Zia from leaving her home while cordoning off the venue in front of the party’s headquarters. The security officials also put barricades at entry points into the capital, and kept public transport off the streets across the country, making it difficult for Zia’s supporters to move.

The opposition condemned the government’s stand and vowed to continue its protest unless the government halts the upcoming elections. The party urged its supporters to block roads, railways and waterways across the country.

Since October when the political crisis intensified in Bangladesh, more than 150 people have been killed in violent incidents. Likewise, more than 1,550 people have been detained by the authorities ahead of elections.

The opposition parties have boycotted the elections, citing fears that the government would manipulate the results of the elections. They have announced that they would not participate in the upcoming elections unless a neutral caretaker government was installed and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of Awami League stepped down.

On the other hand, the government insisted it would go ahead with the polls despite a boycott by opposition parties and major foreign nations announcing they would not send any election observers.