DHAKA: Huge crowds swarmed the streets of Bangladeshi cities connected Wednesday to request Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and caller elections, with nationalist choler mounting implicit rising nutrient and substance costs.
Opposition allies staged rallies successful Dhaka and 9 different cities — the latest of respective demonstrations successful caller months that person occasionally been quelled by violence.
Bangladesh is 1 of the fastest-growing economies successful Asia, but rising planetary nutrient and substance costs linked to the warfare successful Ukraine forced Hasina’s authorities past twelvemonth to enforce lengthy powerfulness cuts and grow nutrient handouts to the poor.
Several radical were injured successful the cardinal metropolis of Faridpur erstwhile supporters of the ruling Awami League attacked protesters portion brandishing sticks and hurling Molotov cocktails.
“The clip to cling to powerfulness by unit is over,” elder Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) person Mirza Abbas said astatine a sit-in extracurricular enactment office successful the capital.
“Let a neutral authorities clasp an election.” Police estimated up to 50,000 radical were contiguous successful the assemblage addressed by Abbas, who was released from situation connected Monday a period aft a sweeping crackdown connected absorption activists.
BNP officials said hundreds of thousands had turned up successful Dhaka alone, with thousands much joining sister rallies astir the country.
“Living costs person ever been a headache,” assemblage pupil Abu Nayem said.
“The authorities mightiness not person a occupation with this, but radical similar maine are dying. I came to protestation this careless apathy.” The Bangladeshi taka has depreciated by up to 25 per cent, driving up the outgo of nutrient imports and making beingness harder for the country’s poorest citizens.
Police said astatine slightest 4 radical were wounded successful the Faridpur clashes.
“We fired rubber bullets to bring the concern nether control,” a elder metropolis constabulary serviceman said.
Shama Obaed, a BNP person astatine the Faridpur rally, said that astatine slightest 100 radical were wounded and much than 30 had been detained. The Awami League held a overmuch smaller counter-protest successful Dhaka to enactment Hasina, who has rejected calls for her departure.
“Extremists are gathering successful 1 spot to topple america from power,” she told supporters astatine a tiny gathering connected Tuesday.
“Don’t deliberation that the enactment volition autumn down if it is shaken. Things are not that easy.” Western governments and the United Nations person expressed concerns implicit the governmental clime successful Bangladesh, wherever Hasina’s enactment dominates the legislature and runs it virtually arsenic a rubber stamp.
Two-time premier Khaleda Zia, the BNP chairperson and Hasina’s semipermanent rival for power, is efficaciously nether location apprehension aft a condemnation connected graft charges.
Washington levelled sanctions against apical information officers successful December 2021 implicit their roles successful hundreds of enforced disappearances and thousands of extrajudicial killings.
Hasina’s authorities denies it was down immoderate enforced disappearance of absorption supporters and leaders, and says galore criminals were killed during gunfights with officers.
Published successful Dawn, January 12th, 2023