Facing the threat of starvation and in dire need for relief items, people from low-income groups on Saturday launched demonstrations in Chattogram, Rangpur and Narayanganj.
Hundreds of people, driven by hunger and desperation, organised several protests and human chains for the past few days in Chattogram alone.
On Saturday, a group of hungry people looted a pickup truck that was carrying food items in the Boropol area of Halishahar in the port city.
Besides, CNG drivers took to the streets for two hours in the same area demanding relief.
According to sources, a pickup truck was moving through the Boropol area carrying various food items, such as fish, beef, rice and fruits for a state-owned oil company.
Locals stopped the truck, looted the food items and ran away within moments.
Speaking to The Business Standard, truck driver Robiul Alam said, "I was delivering the fish, meat, rice and fruits to Padma Oil. But locals in the Boropol area stopped my truck and took most of the food.
"Despite repeatedly asking them not to loot my truck, no one listened to me."
Meanwhile, Halishahar police station Sub-Inspector Md Jasim Uddin said, "CNG drivers took to the road for relief. They stayed on the road from 10am to 12 noon.
"Later, we promised the protesters that a list will be made to provide them with relief. We then removed them from the area."
Demonstrations in Rangpur
Hundreds of people on Saturday afternoon blocked off the Rangpur-Gaibandha road demanding relief items. They held the demonstration in the Soreartol area under Ward 33 of the Rangpur city.
The starving people, in desperate need of relief, lay down on the road for almost 90 minutes. The blockade halted both vehicle traffic and people from moving on the road.
Demonstrators claimed many across the country are getting relief, but people from numerous areas in Rangpur are not receiving any food.
Rafiqul Islam, a protester participating in the demonstration from Pirgachha upazila, said, "Please give us food. How can we stay home without anything to eat? The government is not looking after us.
"Me and my family of four have been starving for three days. On Saturday morning, I asked a number of people for a kilogram of rice, but no one gave me anything."
Rafiqul complained that the government is advising people to stay home, but not providing them with food. "Hunger has forced people to take to the streets," he added.
Rumi Akter, a housewife who attended the demonstration, said, "My family has a lot of members. We are on the verge of starvation because we cannot get any food."
The demonstrators later lifted the blockade after Rangpur district administration's Executive Magistrate Mesbaul Karim and police personnel promised them that food items would be delivered to their doorsteps.
Pressing home the same demand, local people from Deuti Bazar area of Pirgachha took to the streets. They later dispersed peacefully after receiving assurance of relief from the local administration and army personnel.
The demonstrators complained that they were staring at starvation as they had lost jobs to the shutdown. They reiterated their dire need for both government and non-government aid.
Responding to a query, Rangpur Deputy Commissioner Asib Ahsan said, "The government has distributed a significant quantity of food items, so no one will starve here. We are making a serious effort to reach food to the doorsteps of people in every upazila under the district.
"District administration officials have already begun door-to-door food distribution."
Protest in Narayanganj
Demanding relief items, hundreds of people blocked off the Dhaka-Narayanganj link road in Fatullah area under Sadar upazila on Saturday.
The demonstration lasted two hours, and then the protesters lifted the blockade after receiving assurance from the police of getting relief.
People from the Kutubpur union, who did not get any relief, organised the blockade near the Fatullah stadium at around 12 noon.
The demonstrators claimed they were facing an acute shortage of food items because the pandemic lockdown had left them jobless.
They also claimed local union parishad chairman and members did nothing to aid them, and now the people are facing starvation.
Commenting on the matter, Kutubpur Union Parishad Chairman Monirul Alam Sentu said, "So far, we have distributed relief items to around 6,000 people. On Saturday evening, relief for another 1,500 families will arrive, which will be distributed tomorrow [Sunday]."
Fatullah Model police station's Officer-in-Charge Aslam Hossain said, "People staged a demonstration in front of the Fatullah Stadium, demanding relief.
"We spoke to the authorities. Protesters left the area after we promised that they will get aid."