Bangladeshi authorities have banned rallies and street protests in the capital city Dhaka for an indefinite period, just days ahead of main opposition BNP’s grand rally to mount pressure on the government to accept its demand for polls under a non-party caretaker government.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) overnight decided to defy the ban on rallies, prompting the authorities to deploy riot police to prevent any untoward incident.
The BNP said a high-level party meeting last night decided to defy the ban while its leader ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia would join later on Sunday a scheduled convention of professionals at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) here.
“Khaleda Zia will join the programme as chief guest and speak” at the of the pro-BNP professionals, a BNP spokesman told reporters. Police and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion men were deployed around the BICC and other strategic locations of the city to thwart possible street protests by BNP cadres.
“We will step up security measures, depending on the situation,”a police official said. Media here quoting ruling Awami League sources said the ban was an indication of the government toughened stance while the police might also launch a crackdown on opposition leaders if they tried to stage street protests.
The development came amid a proposal by PM Sheikh Hasina to form an interim all-party government to oversee the next general poll.