Police attacked peaceful BNP protest, unprovoked: Mirza Fakhrul

Govt provoking to create a violent situation, alleges Fakhrul.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has condemned a police attack on a BNP demonstration at Dhaka’s Naya Paltan and the detention of party activists.

The BNP leader reproached police for breaking up the demonstration, at a media briefing at the party’s Naya Paltan headquarters on Saturday.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

“We wanted to hold a mass rally at Suhrawardy Udyan, but it was not permitted,” Fakhrul said.

“We wanted to hold an hour-long black flag demonstration to protest the decision. Unfortunately, police, unprovoked, attacked our peaceful protest.”

“They viciously attacked the activists and dragged them onto police vans. This attack on a completely peaceful protest shows the misrule holding sway over the nation.”

The BNP secretary general criticised the government.

Govt provoking to create a violent situation, alleges Fakhrul.

“The people no longer have power in our republic. The Awami League now holds all of the power.”

The BNP had planned a demonstration in front of its party headquarters at 11am. Fakhrul, other BNP leaders and activists were gathering at the location.

Around 10:30am, hundreds of protesters had gathered, when police conducted a baton charge and began shooting coloured water from water cannons to dispersed the crowd.

Several activists, including BNP Organisational Secretary Fazlul Haq Milon, Advisory Council member Ataur Rahman Dhali and former MP Nilofer Chowdhury Moni were injured.

Police have arrested several BNP leaders, including Mostafizur Rahman Babul.

Other leaders, including Mirza Fakhrul, were struck by the coloured water.

They took up positions inside the headquarters as police surrounded the offices.

“A protest cannot be peaceful if it occupies the road and halts traffic,” Dhaka Metropolitan Police Motijheel Division Deputy Commissioner ASM Shibli Noman told the media on the scene. “So we took action.”

The BNP had applied for permission to hold a mass rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan or Naya Paltan on Feb 22, but had been denied by police. The party responded with the announcement of Saturday’s black flag protest.