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25 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 February, 2018 01:03:13 AM

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Police foil BNP demo

Alal among 12 arrested; govt provoking violence, says Fakhrul; BNP processions across country tomorrow
Staff Reporter
Police foil BNP demo
A female BNP activist, along with party men, brandishes a flag pole at police as the law enforcers use water cannon to disperse a black-flag demonstration in front of the party’s central office at Naya Paltan in the capital yesterday. Independent Photo

Police yesterday swung into action using baton and water canon as they foiled BNP’s black-flag demonstration in front of its Naya Paltan central office in the capital staged to protest against the conviction of Khaleda Zia and denial of permission to hold a rally in the capital. The law enforcers also picked up Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, joint secretary general of the BNP, party central leader Mustafizur Rahman Babul, and 10 other activists from in front of the party central office in Naya Paltan.

Law enforcers picked him up when he came out of the office after holding a press conference. Several activists, including BNP organizational secretary Fazlul Haq Milon, advisory council member Ataur Rahman Dhali and former MP Nilofer Chowdhury Moni, BNP leader Nipun Roy Chowdhury were injured.

A large deployment of police and plainclothes detectives had taken up position in the area. Water cannons and armoured vehicles were also stationed. The police began a baton charge as soon as the BNP activists occupied the road. They also used coloured water blasted from

water cannons.

Several BNP leaders, including Mirza Fakhrul, were struck by the water from the cannons. The BNP activists retreated inside their offices and locked the gates while continuing to chant slogans.

Earlier, on February 22, the BNP had announced the programme planned in protest against the denial of permission for its planned rally on Thursday, demanding the release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.

The BNP sought police permission to organize a public rally on February 22 either at Suhrawardy Udyan or in front of its central office. But police refused give permission.

Around noon yesterday, the BNP held a press conference inside the party office, condemning the police attack and denouncing the arrest. The BNP alleged that the government itself was making provocations to trigger violence in the country.

Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP secretary general, said BNP leaders and workers had not gone down to the street, they had not violated Section 144, and police attacked a peaceful programme.

The BNP claimed police arrested more than 150 leaders and activists from in front of the  BNP office and at least 230 people were injured.

The party claimed the government was provoking it to create a violent situation in the country by attacking the party’s peaceful programmes.

“Why cannot I show the black flag standing on the footpath? This is my basic right. So what is the need for police permission to speak in the house,” asked the BNP secretary general.

BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said that BNP would bring out processions across the country on Monday, protesting the attack on their peaceful black-flag demonstration programme in the capital.

ASM Shibli Noman, Deputy Commissioner, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Motijheel Division, said a protest could not be considered peaceful if it blocked the road and halted traffic. Hence, he justified the police action. However, he did not confirm the number of detainees.

Police officials said that showing of black flags by occupying city roads was not a peaceful programme. The BNP had not taken any prior permission to arrange such a programme. “We can’t allow programmes that disrupt public life,” they said. On February 8, BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia was sent to jail after a special court sentenced her to five years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.

Meanwhile, Staff Reporter Kamrul Hassan, Daily Samkal and member of the Dhaka Reporter’s unity, (DRU) and Kiran Sheikh, Reporter the online news portal, Bangladesh Journal, were tortured by police while covering the BNP event. DRU condemned the police torture and demanded a fair investigation into such reckless attacks and punishment for the guilty.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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