More than 100,000 demonstrators demand the Prime Minister’s resignation

More than 100,000 demonstrators demand the Prime Minister’s resignation

More than 100,000 supporters of the country’s two main opposition parties Bangladesh Protesters gathered in Dhaka on Saturday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to make way for a neutral government to oversee the elections, police said. A police officer was killed and more than 100 injured on Saturday.

A Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman told AFP that police officers had been the target of “opposition attacks.” He added that the dead police officer “was injured in the head by opposition activists.”

This day marks a new stage in Protests Ahead of the general elections scheduled before the end of next January. Sheikh Hasina, the daughter of the country’s first president, has been in power for fifteen years, and has seen her country witness rapid economic growth that has allowed it to surpass its neighbor India in terms of population. gross domestic product per capita, but his government is accused of corruption and human rights violations.

For months, the rising opposition has been organizing protests to press its demands, even though ailing BNP leader Khaleda Zia, a two-time prime minister and a longtime foe of Hasina, is under house arrest after being convicted of crimes. corruption.

“Vote thief”

His supporters flocked to Dhaka on Saturday, crowding into buses despite checkpoints on the road to the capital, and even boarding crowded trains. “Vote thief, vote thief, Sheikh Hasina, vote thief,” the crowd chanted during a BNP demonstration in front of the party’s headquarters.

Iskandar Badsha, a 24-year-old student activist from Chittagong (south), explained: “We demand the immediate resignation of the Hasina government, the release of our leader Khaleda Zia and the establishment of real voting rights.” The authorities said that at least 10,000 police were deployed, but they clashed with hundreds of demonstrators in the Kakarel area, in front of the largest Catholic church in the city, and fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

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Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Farooq Hossain estimated that at least 100,000 people joined the BNP march, while up to 25,000 people participated in the group’s protest near the city’s main business district. According to BNP spokesperson Zahiruddin Swapan, more than one million people gathered.

He described the marches as a “final call” for Hasina’s resignation, and said that at least 2,900 of her activists and supporters were arrested earlier this week.

Banned demonstrations

These demonstrations were banned and hundreds of police officers closed a major intersection, but about 3,000 demonstrators crossed the cordon, according to an Agence France-Presse correspondent at the scene.

Police arrested at least 200 BNP supporters near the party headquarters on charges of throwing Molotov cocktails, Farooq said, adding that at least 600 people were arrested last week. If Hasina does not resign, the party has threatened to call for strikes and blockades.

Security forces are accused of arresting tens of thousands of opposition activists and killing or disappearing hundreds of leaders and supporters. Many Western governments as well as human rights groups have expressed concern about the political climate in the country.

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