World Bulletin/News Desk
The Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) decided on Saturday to ban all meetings, rallies, processions and human chains in the capital Dhaka as of October 20 and until further notice.
The decision came after the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country's main opposition party, the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) party and 11 other parties all applied for a permission to hold rival rallies in Dhaka on October 25.
The DMP imposed a ban on holding meetings, rallies and public gatherings and carrying of fire arms and explosives in the capital starting from 6 a.m. Sunday.
A rally organized by a professional body in Dhaka on Sunday, which opposition leader Khaleda Zia was expected to attend, will fall under the new ban.
The decision drew immediate condemnation from all opposition political parties.
BNP acting secretary general and spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir dismissed the decision as a "ploy to kill democracy".
"The government is trying to foil the opposition's movement by banning rallies," he told reporters.
The BNP promised to stage protests in districts, outside Dhaka, on Sunday to protest the ban.
Rafiqul Islam Khan, the acting secretary general of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (BJI), also condemned the government's decision.
"Holding rallies and processions is a basic and democratic right," he insisted in a statement.
"The government undermines democracy and violates constitutional rights by banning all rallies and processions."
Opposition parties had planned to organize rallies on October 25 to protest the ruling party's refusal to form a nonpartisan caretaker government to supervise the upcoming parliament election.
The BAL government wants to stay in power until after the parliamentary polls, while all opposition parties are demanding a neutral government to hold and supervise the vote.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the BAL leader, proposed on Friday an all-party interim government to conduct the upcoming parliamentary elections, ruling out the formation of a caretaker government for the poll time.
Under the recently amended constitution, elections should be held within 90 days before the current parliament ends its tenure on January 24.Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2013, 10:36