Police on Saturday foiled BNP’s black flag demonstration programme in front of its Nayapaltan central office protesting the denial of permission to hold a rally in the city on Thursday last.
The party claimed that police arrested its over 150 party men and followers, including its joint secretary general Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal and central leader Mostafizur Rahman Babul and some women leaders.
Besides, it said, at least 230 BNP leaders and activists, including party chairperson’s adviser Ataur Rahman Dhali, organizing secretary Fazlul Haq Milon and executive committee members Nilufar Chowdhury Moni and Nipun Roy, were injured. They were taken to hospitals. As part of their scheduled programme, leaders and activists of the party and its associate bodies started gathering in front of their Nayapaltan central office since 9:30am. The programme was scheduled to begin at 11am.
When a group of party women leaders and activists tried to stand in front of their office with black flags, police chased them and arrested 10 of them.
They also damaged a makeshift stage built in front of the party office to stage their protests.
As other party leaders and activists, led by party central leaders, including its secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, tried to stage their programme, police used water cannons, charged baton to disperse them, leaving Ataur Rahman Dhali, Milon, Moni and Nipun injured.
As Fakhrul urged the law enforcers not to attack their party men, police also splashed water on him from the water cannon.
At one stage, Fakhrul, BNP standing committee members Moudud Ahmed, Mirza Abbas, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, and Nazrul Islam Khan and other central leaders left the place and entered the party office.
Huge law enforcers were seen deployed in front of the BNP’s central office. They arrested many BNP leaders and activists from different lanes and places adjacent to the BNP office.
Talking to reporter in front of the BNP office, Dhaka Metropolitan Police Motijheel Zone ADC ASM Shibli Noman said, “Showing black flag occupying city road is not a peaceful programme. They did not take any prior permission for arranging such programme. We can’t allow programmes that disrupt public life.”
Later, at a press conference around 12 noon, Mirza Fakhrul alleged that police attacked their peaceful programme and foiled it without any provocation.
He also alleged that the government itself is provoking to create a violent situation in the country.
Fakhrul also strongly condemned and protested the police attacks on their programme.
Later, Fakhrul together with party central leaders and about 200 party activists came out of the central office around 1:20pm. Police, however, did not arrest or chase them.
Some party female leaders were taken to different hospitals by two ambulances around 1:30pm.
At another press conference, BNP senior joint secretary Ruhul Kabir Rizvi announced that their party will bring out processions across the country on Monday protesting the attack on their peaceful black flag showing programme in the city.
He claimed that their party’s at least 230 leaders and activists, including several women ones, were injured as police charged baton on them.
Rizvi also said police arrested over 150 party men and followers. He demanded their immediate release.
On February 22, BNP announced the black flag demonstration programme protesting the denial of permission for its planned rally on Thursday demanding the release of party chairperson Khaleda Zia from jail.
On February 8, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia was sent to jail after a special court sentenced her to five years’ rigorous imprisonment in the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case.