The BNP-led 20-Party Alliance’s black-flag march in Dhaka in protest against Israel’s attack on Palestinians at Gaza has ended peacefully.
Political temperature was high due to heated exchange of words between Awami League and the BNP leaders in the run up to the programme and heavy presence of law enforcers in front of the BNP’s Naya Paltan headquarters on Friday.
Saturday’s programme was the first by the BNP-led alliance since its last agitation against the 10th general election in January.
Police had permitted the alliance to hold the programme on certain conditions.
Similar programme was held across the country simultaneously.
There were no untoward incidence or violence apart from snatching and burning of black flags meant for the BNP march in Jhenaidah.
The ruling Awami League had warned the BNP against inciting any violence from the march. The BNP on the other hand stated that the programmes would be peaceful if the government did not obstruct it.Members of law enforcing agencies with water cannon and Armoured Personnel Carriers were deployed from Naya Paltan to Malibagh to prevent any possible violence.
The march, with top leaders of the 20-Party Alliance at the front, started from the BNP headquarters around 3pm Saturday and ended at Malibagh.
Thousands of leaders and activists, sporting black badges and carrying black flags, took part in the procession.
At least 2,000 Palestinians were killed and a thousand others wounded in Gaza after Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8. There is a ceasefire in effect at the moment.
Supporters of the alliance braved rain to fill up the long road in front of the BNP office.
Addressing from a makeshift stage erected on a truck, the party’s Dhaka metropolitan unit chief Mirza Abbas said, “This will be a silent march in protest against killings of innocent people in Gaza. This is not a march against the government.”
He also asked the supporters to not raise any political slogans.
The protest procession had caused huge traffic snarls at different areas including Paltan, Bijoynagar, Kakrail, Malibagh and Bailey Road.
The BNP-led alliance recently has announced several other programmes as part of their movement to press for fresh elections under a non-party government.
It is also scheduled to hold a rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital on Aug 19 protesting the National Broadcast Policy.Addressing the gathering before the march begun, BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “We demand immediate stop to the attacks and bombings in Gaza.”
He also urged the world leaders to stand up against Israeli invasion in the Gaza Strip.