Dhaka, Jan 11 (EFE).- Thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Wednesday, calling for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s resignation and the formation of a caretaker government before the next general election.
“The people of this country want freedom, freedom from this terrible authoritarian government,” said Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Mirza Fakhrul.
Fakhrul, the top BNP leader in the absence of chief Khaleda Zia and her exiled son Tarique Rahman, spoke at a sit-in protest in front of the party office in Dhaka.
An estimated 40,000 people attended the four-hour demonstration, police officer Enamul Haque said.
“Everything ended peacefully. There was no problem,” Haque told EFE.
Fakhrul said the government was “politically bankrupt.”
“This government is corrupt, isolated from people, and a torturer but clinging to power illegally…It must resign, the parliament must be dissolved, and a caretaker government formed for the next election,” he said.
The BNP leader, released from jail after a month in detention on Monday, said the government had arrested hundreds of party supporters, including senior leaders, to suppress their movement.
Similar protests took place in other divisional headquarters.
The BNP leader alleged that the ruling party supporters and the police attacked the opposition activists in at least one place while they were holding the demonstrations.
The Awami League held some counter-demonstrations in Dhaka to support the Hasina government.
The BNP has been holding protests since August against rising commodity prices and demanding the unconditional release of Zia and the formation of an interim government for polls.
Zia, sentenced to ten years on a corruption charge, is banned from engaging in political activities or leaving the country after her conditional release in March 2020.
Some 11 BNP leaders or supporters have died in clashes with police and supporters of the ruling Awami League since the demonstrations in August.
The clashes happened in an apparent escalation of political tensions ahead of the next general elections due between December 2023 and January 2024.
The Awami League and the BNP have ruled Bangladesh since 1991, except for a brief quasi-military rule in 2007-08. EFE