Thursday, February 22

Khaleda declares nonstop countrywide blockade


BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia this afternoon announced an indefinite countrywide blockade to protest government restriction on 20-party rally.

“The programme will continue until my further instruction. We will set the next course of action after the situation clams down,” she said while speaking to journalists after law enforcers barred her from getting out of her Gulshan office this afternoon.

Earlier, she got in her car to leave her office Dhaka’s Gulshan to join an anti-government rally, but cannot leave the office premises as police kept all the gates under lock and key.

As the aggrieved BNP activists tried to force open the gate from inside, police used pepper spray on them and scattered them away.

Wearing a cream colour sari, Khaleda got in the car around 3:45pm and waited for the gates to be opened. Police however did not respond to her instruction.

A two-time prime minister, the BNP chief remains confined to her office since Saturday night.

“The government has created a war-like situation,” Shimul Biswas, special assistant to the BNP chief, told journalists in reaction.

Khaleda Zia has asked the 20-party activists to continue their movement until their demand is fulfilled.

While number of policemen was increased in front of the gate on the western side, a large number of female police were deployed in front of the other gate on the northern side.

Meanwhile, members of elite force Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) joined policemen in the afternoon as the law enforcers keep Khaleda’s office cordoned off in a bid to stop her from going out.

The gates were closed shortly after the BNP chief announced that she would leave after 2:00pm and hold rally wherever she is intercepted.

The Dhaka Metropolitan Police have banned all kinds of rallies for an indefinite period since Sunday afternoon amid announcement of counter rallies by the BNP-led 20-party alliance and ruling Awami League marking one-year anniversary of the January 5 parliamentary election.

“The chairperson said she would hold rally at the point she is intercepted,” Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel, press secretary to the BNP chief, told journalists who gathered there around 11:00am.

Security has been beefed up across the capital amid vow by the BNP chief to hold a political rally marking January 5 election anniversary today.

Khaleda instructed her leaders and activists of the 20-party alliance to defy police ban on rallies.

At least 10 brick, sand-laden trucks remain parked in front of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s Gulshan office since 11:00pm last night.

Two police trucks and a water canon were also seen near her office.