Rallies banned, security tightened in Bangladesh

Dhaka, Dec 26 (IANS) Security has been tightened in Gazipur on the outskirts of Bangladesh capital Dhaka since Friday morning to prevent any untoward incident following the opposition’s decision to hold a pre-scheduled rally defying a police ban.

The local administration has imposed a ban on political rallies in Gazipur district from Friday in the wake of growing tension after the ruling and opposition parties’ announcement of holding rallies at the same venue Saturday, Xinhua reported.
Harun-ur-Rashid, superintendent of Gazipur police, told journalists that all political activities like rallies, demonstrations and mass gatherings have been banned in the district.
“We won’t allow political parties to hold rallies at Bhawal Bodr-E-Alam Government College ground in Gazipur Saturday,” said Nurul Islam, Gazipur’s district administration chief.
A large number of law enforcers, including police, equipped with water cannons were deployed at the venue.
Security in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country has also been reportedly beefed up.
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) has warned the government of organising more movements if the opposition was barred from holding the rally.
BNP spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir had earlier in the day announced that the party’s pre-scheduled rally on Saturday would be held in Gazipur at any cost.
Ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s BNP-led alliance has been holding mass protests demanding national elections in the country under a non-party caretaker government.
Bangladesh’s Awami League (AL) of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed emerged victorious in last January’s national election, marred by Khaleda Zia’s then main opposition’s boycott and widespread violence.