Bangladesh ex-PM Khaleda Zia in lockdown ahead of protest

Local reports said there was an increased police presence outside the BNP offices in Dhaka on Sunday
Local reports said there was an increased police presence outside the BNP offices in Dhaka on Sunday

Security forces in Bangladesh have stopped opposition leader Khaleda Zia from leaving her party offices and banned all protests in the capital.

Police said the ban, which began in Dhaka at 17:00 local time (11:00 GMT) on Sunday, was to prevent violence.

Both Ms Zia’s party and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party had planned to hold rival demonstrations on Monday.

Bangladesh has long been dominated by Ms Hasina’s rivalry with Ms Zia, who led the country from 1996 to 2001.

Monday is the first anniversary of an election that was boycotted by Ms Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), who said it would be rigged.

BNP leader Khaleda Zia (left) and Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina
BNP leader Khaleda Zia, left, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina are bitter rivals

Ms Zia was due to lead a mass BNP demonstration against the government in Dhaka but was prevented from leaving her offices on Saturday evening.

“She has been confined in her office. Police have cordoned off the area and barricaded [the] road. She wanted to see a sick party colleague around midnight, but they did not let her out,” an aide told the AFP news agency.

‘Enhanced security’

Police were reported to have locked the doors of the opposition headquarters, with Ms Zia forced to spend the night in her office.

There were protests nearby, with a bus being set alight close to the offices, and local TV said police had detained several people.

Police Inspector Firoz Kabir denied that Ms Zia was being forcibly detained, telling reporters: “We’ve not detained her, only her security has been enhanced. She is not leaving her office.”

On Sunday, there was said to be a huge security presence at the BNP headquarters and police trucks were pictured blocking the streets.

The move comes after Ms Zia demanded new elections in the country last week and called on Ms Hasina to release political prisoners.

Dozens of BNP workers have disappeared since last year’s election, with human rights groups blaming the government – although it denies this.

Source: BBC


  1. It is encouraging to see at this time of national crisis that all forces are coming together to bringing back the democratic Bangladesh to its people who sacrificed their lives for it:

    It may be the last chance for restoring democracy and people’s voting right in Bangladesh. If this government, acquiring power through a questionable election, does not listen to the popular demand, the only option remaining would be to go for all out movement. Sitting idle as neutral people may not be an option with reference to the following:

    “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
    ― John F. Kennedy

    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
    ― Desmond Tutu

    • BNP led 20 Party opposition showed maximum restraint for peaceful settlement of the current political deadlock by dialogue in order to hold an election that is acceptable to the most of the people. The government in power didn’t only show a cold shoulder to this popular demand, they also undermined and ridiculed this legitimate demand. Therefore, this mandate-less government will have to take all responsibilities from now on if anything goes wrong and any inconvenience created to the citizens of this country.


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