DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – The political situation in Bangladesh became more volatile early Friday after police detained two more senior leaders of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).
The detective branch of the police picked up the party’s second in command, Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, and BNP Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas from their homes in the capital Dhaka, Sayrul Kabir Khan, a member of BNP’s media cell, told reporters.
Police filed five cases against the opposition BNP men and sued over 3,100 named and unnamed people Thursday.
Over 880 BNP leaders and activists were named while over 2,250 unnamed people were sued in the cases in Dhaka over clashes Wednesday with police, according to the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP).
Amnesty International in a statement Thursday said the authorities must end repression of demonstrations.
“This incident shows that the Bangladesh authorities have very little regard for the sanctity of human life and sends a chilling message that those who dare to exercise their human rights will face dire consequences,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South Asia.
According to eyewitnesses, the clashes erupted when police attempted to reopen a road that had been blocked by hundreds of BNP activists gathered in front of the party’s central office in the Nayapaltan neighborhood.
During the clashes, police fired several hundred tear gas shells and charged with batons, while opposition party activists pelted brick chips and stones at the law enforcers in retaliation.
Hundreds of opposition party leaders and activists had gathered in front of their party’s office ahead of Saturday’s grand rally to press the government to reinstate the non-political caretaker government system three months before general elections, which are scheduled for December of next year.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite unit of the Bangladesh police, remains on high alert due to an opposition rally scheduled for Dec. 10.