Demonstrators railing against the government’s quota system in public service recruitment tests brought key parts of Dhaka to a standstill for a fourth day on Wednesday, before the prime minister’s announcement and the onset of rain sent them on their way.
Undeterred by the early day heat and the inconvenience wrought upon everyday life in the capital, the protesters sat on the roads, refusing to move until the government agreed to accommodate their demands.
Thousands of commuters either sat idle in the stationary traffic, hoping for a reprieve, or else took to their feet to make their journeys. Some anticipated the gridlock and opted to stay indoors.
The protests not only froze the Dhaka traffic, but also hurt everyday business affairs as well. Several shopkeepers claimed their daily sales were a fraction of their average, while patients and schoolchildren were delayed.
In over a dozen strategic locations throughout the city, students of private and public universities alike - coordinated, as per the tradition, by those from Dhaka University - created deadlocks on the roads.
In Tanti Bazar, students of Jagannath University blocked roads in Sadarghat, Keraniganj, and Gulistan.
Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University students blocked the Agargaon intersection at Begum Rokeya Sarani and Mirpur Road.
The traffic on Mirpur Road itself, one of the major arteries in Dhaka, was subjected to blockades every few miles.
Daffodil International University and State University of Bangladesh students took up positions along the thoroughfare from Dhanmondi 27 to Shukrabad.
Students from Eden Mahila College, Dhaka College, and College of Home Economics shut down the Nilkhet intersection.
Students from Primeasia University, Southeast University, Royal University, President University, and Northern University shut down parts of the Airport Road from Kakoly intersection in Banani to Sainik Club.
Students of North South University, Independent University Bangladesh, and American International University Bangladesh blocked the main road of Bashundhara residential area.
Moghbazar intersection and Ruposhi Bangla intersection were also jammed up until the afternoon.