More than 100,000 supporters of Bangladesh’s opposition party have protested against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid’s government in Dhaka and demanded new elections.
According to the French news agency AFP, on Saturday, protesters chanted slogans of “Sheikh Hasina is a vote stealer” at the Gulab Bagh Sports Ground.
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All seven members of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have announced their resignations from Parliament.
Western governments and the United Nations have expressed concern over the political environment in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies, but the war in Ukraine has forced the government to suspend gas and diesel imports.
In recent months, there have been protests across the country due to power shortages and fuel price hikes.
The value of the Bangladeshi taka has depreciated by 25 percent, increasing the cost of food imports and hurting the poor and lower middle class.
Autorickshaw driver Russell Mia participated in the rally to express his anger over the rising prices of food and other items.
He said that I am a victim of oppression. I have come here today to protest against those who are responsible for my current situation.
Bangladeshi TV channels did not cover the demonstration live, raising suspicions that the authorities had pressured them.
A BNP official claimed that lakhs of people joined the rally till morning.
“Our main demand is for Sheikh Hasina to resign, to dissolve parliament and to allow an impartial caretaker government to hold free and fair elections,” spokesman Zaheeruddin Swapan told AFP.
The number of protesters is up to 80,000, said a senior security officer on condition of anonymity.
Sheikh Hasina Wajid has completely rejected the demands of her resignation and elections under the caretaker government.
Police set up checkpoints on routes to Dhaka and security was tight in the city on Saturday.
Another police officer said that 3000 police personnel were deployed outside the rally ground to ensure security.
Muhammad Alamgir, a businessman who came from the southern island of Bhola to participate in the demonstration, said, “I do not support any political party.” We want freedom from the current situation.