Tens of thousands of supporters of Bangladesh’s main opposition party descended on Dhaka to protest against the government of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, demanding fresh elections.
“Sheikh Hasina is a vote thief,” the protestors chanted as tensions remained high in the capital after security forces stormed the headquarters of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) yesterday, leaving at least one person dead and scores injured, AFP reported.
Two of the opposition party’s top leaders were arrested on Friday over charges of inciting the violence, to try to prevent the rally from going ahead as the opposition has been holding protests around the country demanding Sheikh Hasina to resign and call an election under a caretaker government.
Western governments, along with the United Nations, expressed concerns over the political climate in Bangladesh.
A BNP official claimed that some 200,000 people had joined Saturday’s rally by mid-morning.
“Our main demand is Sheikh Hasina resign and parliament is dissolved and let a neutral caretaker government step in to hold a free and fair election,” spokesman Zahiruddin Swapan told AFP.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police spokesman Faruq Ahmed, however, said that the venue could not hold more than 30,000 people. There had been no violence so far, but SWAT teams, counter-terrorism units and canine squads were on standby, he added.