Bangladesh opposition launches campaigns to postpone polls

Bangladesh opposition launches campaigns to postpone polls

BANGLADESH - The Bangladesh opposition party BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia yesterday urged people from every corner of the country to march towards the capital on Sunday to force the government to postpone the January 5 polls.

She asked opposition leaders and activists to form a resistance committee for each polling station to foil the "farcical" election and committees for "preservation of democracy and sovereignty" at district and upazila levels.

"To give our movement greater momentum and take it to the next level, I call upon all of you, irrespective of your political beliefs and opinions, to march to Dhaka on Sunday, the 29th of December," said the opposition leader.

This march is to say "no" to the farcical election and to say "yes" to democracy, she said during a crowded press conference at her Gulshan office.

On the formation of resistance committees, she asked her alliance members to involve all sections of society, including minorities, and remain alert to ensure their safety and security. "There will be zero tolerance for any form of communalism."

She also called upon her supporters to maintain law and order and protect the lives and properties of all citizens through formation of neighbourhood watch groups.

This announcement of the "March for Democracy" comes following a series of mindless blockades from November 26, a day after the Election Commission declared the polls date.

Till yesterday, the opposition enforced blockades of roads, rails and waterways for 22 days, crippling communications countrywide. Frequent clashes, arson blasts and killings took place almost every day, claiming at least 120 lives.

Only seven days were free from the blockades -- four Fridays, two holidays for Martyred Intellectuals Day and Victory Day and December 15 when the Jamaat-e-Islami enforced a hartal to protest the execution of convicted war criminal Quader Mollah.

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