Published: Monday, May 6, 2013

Opposition plans non-stop siege

14-party rally today; transport strike over worker's death

The BNP standing committee last night decided in principle to impose indefinite rail and road blockades from tomorrow morning if the government does not give in to the opposition’s 48-hour ultimatum.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, at a rally of the 18-party alliance on Saturday afternoon, issued the ultimatum to the government to come up with a clear announcement accepting the demand for the restoration of the caretaker system.
The blockade programme, however, will be finalised tonight after a meeting of Khaleda and the chiefs of her alliance partners, in line with a decision taken at a meeting of the standing committee.
It has also been decided that the opposition alliance will hold a rally in the capital’s Naya Paltan area at 3:00pm today.
At around the same time, ruling Awami League-led 14-party alliance will stage a rally at Bangabandhu Avenue protesting “anarchy”, AL leader Mohammad Nasim said at a press conference yesterday.
The BNP standing committee meeting, presided over by Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office, urged the people to protest “attacks on Hefajat-e Islam’s peaceful rally” at the capital’s Shapla Chattar.
The meeting condemned the government for its “indecent criticism” over the 48-hour ultimatum, MK Anwar, a member of the committee, told the reporters.
He also alleged that activists of the pro-government organisations Chhatra League and Jubo League attacked the lawfully organised rally of Hefajat yesterday.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation has called for a six-hour work abstention from 6:00am today to protest the death of transport worker Siddiqur Rahman during a clash between Hefajat and law enforcers.
The federation, the country’s largest body of road transport workers, will also bring out a protest procession from Phulbaria bus terminal in Dhaka today at 11:30am carrying the coffin of Rahman.
The workers will also hold processions with sticks and black flags across the country.
Also yesterday, Shamsuzzaman Dudu, BNP chairperson’s adviser, in a statement protested and condemned the attack on the participants of Hefajat’s programme. He called upon the law enforcers to stop “attacking and shooting” Hefajat activists and the common people.
Earlier in the day, terming the participants of Hefajat’s blockade programme as that by Musafir (travellers), the BNP urged the city dwellers to provide them with food and water.