Police in several districts across the country have foiled demonstrations of BNP and its affiliate organisations held in protest against the issuance of an arrest warrant for Khaleda Zia.
A Comilla court on Monday ordered the arrest of BNP Chairperson Khaleda and 45 other leaders and activists of her party in a case filed over the February 2015 arson attack on a bus in Chouddagram upazila.
After the warrant was issued, the party announced nationwide protest programmes for Wednesday.
However, on Tuesday, 10 activists were arrested in Chittagong from in front of the BNP’s city unit office at Kazir Dewri during a rally protesting the warrant for Khaleda, who is currently in London.
Police claimed that the arrestees were accused in a number of cases filed on sabotage charges.
In Bagerhat Sadar upazila, the law enforces also arrested two BNP leaders in the early hours over their suspected involvement in acts of sabotage. Later in the day, they were jailed by a local court.
Other leaders of BNP district unit, however, claimed that the duo’s arrest was aimed at creating panic among the party supporters and obstruct Wednesday’s scheduled protest programmes.
In Barisal town, eight Jatiyatabadi Jubo Dal activists were reportedly injured when police charged batons to disperse a procession at Sadar Road. It was taken out after a demonstration in front of Ashwini Kumar Hall.
Later at noon, Jaityatabadi Chhatra Dal and Jaityatabadi Swechchhasebok Dal also held protest rallies at the same venue.
Police barred them too from taking out processions afterwards and dispersed them.
In Noakhali, BNP, Jubo Dal, Chhatra Dal and Swechchhasebak Dal jointly held a protest rally in front of the Press Club in the town within a police barricade. Their attempt to take out a procession was foiled too.
Earlier in the morning, police in Netrakona district town had dispersed a protest procession taken out by Jubo Dal and Chhatra Dal supporters.
In Kurigram, Jubo Dal and Chhatra Dal had brought out a protest procession which was also stopped by police. They later held a rally at Jahaj Ghor intersection.
Trouble at Labour Party founding anniversary event
The arrests of 10 BNP activists in the port city on Tuesday morning had simultaneously come after a scuffle between police and supporters of the party and its ally Bangladesh Labour Party (BLP) at the Chittagong Press Club.
BLP was holding its 40th founding anniversary programme there. BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi was present at the venue as the chief guest along with several other leaders when the fracas took place.
Rizvi was also supposed to attend the BNP demonstration in front of the party’s Kazir Dewri office.
During the incident at the Press Club around 11am, police had detained three BLP leaders including its chief Mostafizur Rahman Iran. But they were released later.
Police officials said BLP had taken permission to hold their programme there. But they did not notify about Rizvi’s presence in it.
Citing security issues, police had tried to stop the event, which then led to the altercation between them and supporters of both BLP and BNP.
Both parties have condemned the police action and demanded immediate release of the arrestees.