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50 vehicles damaged as protesters go wild
Police yesterday charged baton on a procession of Kendrio Jubo Sangram Parishad (KJSP) which was heading for the PDB (Power Development Board) Bhaban at Motijheel to lay siege to it protesting unprecedented load shedding and demanding uninterrupted power supply, leaving at least 50 injured.
More than 20 others were injured, raising the total to over 70, as the demonstrators damaged around 50 motorised vehicles near Baitul Mukarram.
The procession was brought out by the KJSP, a platform of youth fronts of the Awami League (AL)-led 14-party opposition combine.
Witnesses said a section of participants in the procession, who attacked vehicles near Baitul Mukarram, were carrying the banner of Dhaka City Awami Jubo League (north). Most of those injured in this incident were passengers of different vehicles.
Police rushed to the spot and charged baton on those damaging vehicles. The demonstrators pelted brickbats at police, who then lobbed teargas shells to disperse them. At least 30 opposition activists were injured there.
Police later brought the situation under control and picked up seven activists from the spot.
Witnesses said some plainclothes personnel also clashed with the demonstrators during the turmoil.
The KJSP procession then marched towards Motijheel.
Immediately afterwards, the ruling BNP's youth front Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal brought out a procession from Dainik Bangla intersection. It moved up to Purana Paltan intersection, chanting slogans in favour of Housing and Public Works Minister Mirza Abbas.
Sources said the Jubo Dal procession was not scheduled earlier.
The opposition procession was intercepted by police at Shapla square. A brief exchange of brickbats between the two sides took place there.
The demonstrators then held a rally there, protesting police interception and atrocities on them.
Speakers at the rally alleged that the Jubo Dal and Jamaat-e-Islami's youth front damaged the vehicles in a pre-planned way. They blamed the crises of electricity, water and fuel on syndicated business and corruption by 'Hawa Bhaban' people.
Chaired by Jubo League President Jahangir Kabir Nanak, the rally was addressed by, among others, its General Secretary Mirza Azam, Sadaqat Hossain Bakul, Sagir Anwar, Shafiqul Islam Babul and Karim Sikder.
The KJSP announced that they would lay siege to electricity offices of upazila headquarters on May 14, and Election Commission offices across the country on May 18 demanding cancellation of fake voter list.
The Workers' Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD)and Dhaka City AL and KJSP condemned the police attack on the procession.
The JSD city unit also held a rally demanding immediate solution of the ongoing crises.
Meanwhile, Palli Bidyut Samity offices in Gazipur, Savar and Faridpur were besieged yesterday by political activists and students demanding uninterrupted power supply in the areas.
In Gazipur, district unit of Jubo League laid siege to Palli Bidyut Samity office at 11:00am protesting load shedding in the district.
Jubo League leaders and activists staged a rally in front of the main gate of Palli Bidyut Samity office demanding smooth power supply. Later, they staged a demonstration on Gazipur-Dhaka highway, according to BDNEWS.
In Savar, about 200 students from different schools and colleges of the upazila surrounded local Palli Bidyut Samity office in the morning protesting power outage.
Sources said the students assembled in front of the samity office at around 10:30am and chanted slogans demanding uninterrupted power supply.
Our Faridpur correspondent reported that local unit of Awami Jubo League staged a sit-in in front of Palli Bidyut Samity office from 11:00am to 1:00pm protesting load shedding.
Addressing a rally at the sit-in venue, leaders of Jubo League urged the authorities to take immediate steps to ensure smooth power supply in the district.