Thousands of protestors detained in Dhaka
Bangladesh police have arrested and blocked the movement of thousands of protesters heading to the capital for an anti-government rally.Updated: Feb 04, 2006 15:27 IST
Bangladesh police have arrested and blocked the movement of thousands of protesters heading to the capital for an anti-government rally, an opposition leader and media reports said on Saturday.
Abdul Jalil, general secretary of the main opposition Awami League party, said that thousands of supporters were on their way to the capital, Dhaka, but police were obstructing them at ferry, bus and railway terminals.
The Awami League and its 13 other opposition allies have claimed that police have detained more than 1,500 activists since Wednesday in nationwide raids ahead of Sunday's rally.
Local media reports quoting unnamed officials said on Saturday that the government has instructed police to round up dissidents and halt the movement of buses and trucks toward Dhaka.
"We have also been instructed to restrict transport movement," an unidentified police official was quoted as saying by the English-language Daily Star newspaper.
Authorities denied that they were arresting opposition members.
"We are detaining crime suspects, but not any political activists," a senior police official said Friday on condition of anonymity in line with official policy. The officer, however, declined to specify the number of detainees or provide further details.
Police headquarters declined to speak to the agency on Saturday.
Opposition parties have recently launched a campaign of street protests and general strikes accusing the government of graft, fixing voting lists in its favor and failing to curb rising Islamic militancy.
The government has vowed to remain in power until its five-year term expires in October.
Bangladesh, an impoverished nation of 140 million people, has a history of political violence.
First Published: Feb 04, 2006 15:27 IST