Bangladeshi authorities have banned rallies and street protests in the capital city Dhaka for an indefinite period,just days ahead of main opposition BNPs grand rally to mount pressure on the government to accept its demand for polls under a non-party caretaker government.
The 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 Saturday night decided to defy the ban while its leader ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia would join later Sunday a scheduled convention of professionals at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre 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 police might also launch a crackdown on opposition leaders and activists if they tried to stage street protests defying the ban.
The development came amid a proposal by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to form an interim all-party government to oversee Bangladeshs next general election. The term of the current parliament will end on October 25 and polls must be held by January 25,2014.
Zia rejects polls under Hasina
DHAKA: Rejecting Premier Sheikh Hasinas proposal for an all-party government to oversee Bangladesh’s next general election,opposition leader Khaleda Zia Sunday said her BNP party would not participate in the poll process without a non-party neutral caretaker administration. If we go to the election (with Hasina remaining as the premier),BNP would be affected…you have lost credibility among the people, she told a convention of pro-opposition professionals here amid tight security. Zia said her party would only go to election under a “non-party neutral government. PTI