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Bangladesh Opposition to defy police ban on rally

Fears of a violent confrontation over poll reforms loomed large in Bangladesh after the Opposition vowed to hold a rally in the capital.

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 18:43 IST

Fears of a violent confrontation over poll reforms loomed large in Bangladesh after the Opposition on Thursday vowed to hold a rally in the capital defying a police ban when a caretaker government takes charge to conduct the general elections due in January.

The 14-party opposition led by Awami League (AL) said it will hold the rally in Dhaka's Paltan Maidan on Saturday, when the caretaker government headed by retired chief justice KM Hasan takes charge.

The ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, whose term ends on Friday, has already booked the same venue for three days from Saturday.

After the breakdown of talks on electoral reforms, police banned all kinds of demonstrations for an indefinite period in the capital in order to "maintain order."

But AL general secretary Abdul Jalil said, "people will not follow this government's order since its term ends Friday.

"The police commissioner's (order banning public rallies) is from the government and thus it is not legal from Saturday," he told reporters here.

He warned that people would pour into Dhaka with "oars and sticks" according to AL chief Sheikh Hasina's call if Hasan took charge of the caretaker government.

Jalil also declared there would be no election under Justice Hasan.

He said opposition alliance leaders have been asked to delink Dhaka from Chittagong, Sylhet and Khulna along with a siege of Chittagong Port, the country's economic lifeline.

Jalil urged the ruling alliance to return to the talks to break the political deadlock over electoral reforms.

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 18:43 IST