Vol. 5 Num 823 Tue. September 19, 2006  
Front Page

High security, no aggression

Unlike all previous 14-party alliance programmes, government yesterday ensured the security of the Awami League-led alliance's rally with an army of around 20,000 law enforcers forming a six-tier security system.

In contrast to the law enforcers' usual suppressive attitude observed toward agitation programmes of the opposition, especially the siege programmes on September 6 and 12, the government yesterday took all measures to maintain a peaceful atmosphere in the capital.

Except for some stray incidents on the outskirts of the city and in several districts, yesterday's rally ended peacefully with full cooperation from the law enforcers as they let processions march through the streets towards the rally.

Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) took charge of the security of Paltan Maidan and the stage area a day ahead of the rally and handed over the charge to the police yesterday noon.

Rab took all preventive measures for the security of the rally except patrolling the sky with choppers.

Around 3,500 elite anti-crime forces from five battalions took over the Paltan Maidan and adjacent strategic points and repeatedly scanned through the area with bomb detectors, bomb sniffing dogs and explosives experts to avert any sort of untoward incident during the rally.

Undercover personnel from Rab intelligence and other law enforement agencies including detective branch and special branch were deployed in the area to nab any suspect.

Furthermore, police set up around 150 check-posts on different important points in the capital and body-searched the rally goers at entry points to the rally.

Around 12,000 police, 1,000 Bangladesh Rifles, 1,000 Armed Police Battalion and several thousand personnel from other intelligence agencies were also deployed in and around the rally.

For continuous surveillance of the rally, around 40 closed-circuit television cameras were set up around Paltan Maidan.

Traffic was very light in the capital the whole day and many educational institutions and shopping malls remained closed for the rally.

The impact of the rally was felt in the evening after the end of the rally as locals around the Paltan area and the activists virtually became captive without any transport.

Some of the activists alleged that they had to walk to the rally leaving their transport behind because the police obstructed their vehicles entering the capital through Savar, Kanchpur and Sadarghat areas.

Our correspondents from Netrakona, Satkhira and Munshiganj also reported that law enforcers in connivance with the activists of the ruling party obstructed the 14-party alliance processions headed for the rally.