BNP men protest paralyzing traffic movement from the Jatiya Press Club to Matshya Bhaban for one hour
Leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) clashed with the police at the Supreme Court intersection after blocking the road nearly for one hour on Tuesday.
The activists joined a programme at the Jatiya Press Club and then paraded towards the intersection demanding the release of their jailed leader Begum Khaleda Zia.
A small group of law enforcers tried to disperse the protestors, but they still managed to block the Supreme Court intersection. Traffic from the Press Club to Matshya Bhaban came to a standstill around 1:00pm because of the demonstration.
Tension escalated when more police were deployed there at around 2:00pm.
The BNP activists threw brick chips at the police and vandalised some vehicles, forcing the police to retaliate with teargas.
After a standoff for ten minutes, the activists dispersed and regrouped at the BNP party office in Paltan after 2:00pm.
Sajjadur Rahman, the deputy commissioner (Ramna Division) of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told journalists that they requested the BNP activists several times to leave the intersection — one of the busiest points in the capital.
"They blocked the road illegally. We requested them many times to go away, but they didn't listen. Instead they threw brick-chips at us, which resulted in the clash," he said.
BNP's Vice-Chairman Abdullah Al Noman and Major (Retired) Hafiz Uddin joined the sit-in protest. Noman claimed that staging demonstrations on the roads is not against the law.
"As an opposition, we can arrange such movements. It is our constitutional right to do so," he added.
The protest was staged just days after the BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir categorically announced that his party will never wait for permission from the authorities to hold programmes.
"From now, we will not seek permission to hold our programmes. We will arrange our programmes as we wish," Fakhrul announced last Sunday.
Khaleda Zia has been in jail since she was convicted in the Zia Orphanage Trust corruption case on February 8, 2018.
Later the same year, she was also convicted in the Zia Charitable Trust corruption case, though her party claims both cases were politically motivated.
The BNP chief has been receiving treatment at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) since April 1 this year.