[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Bangladesh halts transports ahead of rally

Police arrest hundreds of alleged opposition supporters and orders Dhaka-bound public transport to suspend operations.

Last updated: 29 Dec 2013 01:17
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Police have detained hundreds of opposition supporters in Bangladesh, authorities have said, in an effort to stop protesters reaching the country's capital a day before a mass anti-government march.

The move came after opposition leader Khaleda Zia vowed on Friday to go ahead with a demonstration planned for Sunday despite a police ban on protests ahead of January 5 elections.

Al Jazeera's Tanvir Chowdhury reported from Bangladesh on Saturday that the country's security forces had rounded up passengers on buses, trains and ferries, and that many of them told local television stations that they had no connection to the scheduled opposition rally. 

Police officers told the AFP news agency that more than 750 people have been arrested after raids on houses and trains over the past two days in a nationwide crackdown on opposition supporters.

Police made the arrests "to prevent acts of violence and sabotages" ahead of the opposition rallies, Dhaka police spokesman Masudur Rahman told AFP.

Local media reported that the detainees were harassed and intimidated by the police, Chowdhury said. 

Dhaka-bound public transports have been halted as operators suspended their services following orders from the government.

'Prevent violence'

The opposition, which is boycotting the elections, has said that up to a million people would descend on the capital in Sunday's protest aimed at forcing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to call off the polls.

Police said they could not give approval for what Zia has called a "March for Democracy" amid fears the protest would become a focal point for more unrest after months of deadly political violence.

There was doubt whether Zia would be able to take part in the protest herself with supporters accusing authorities of keeping her under de facto house arrest since Wednesday.

Although authorities deny that Zia is under house arrest, they concede that police reinforcements have been posted outside her home in an upmarket district of Dhaka to "enhance security".

Chowdhury reported that Zia's house has been cordoned by security forces and no one was allowed to visit her. 

330

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Indonesia's digerati could be crucial to success in the country's upcoming presidential election.
How Brazil's football legend turned every Corinthians' match into a political meeting for democracy.
As the Pakistani army battles Taliban forces, civilians in North Waziristan face an arduous escape for relative safety.
Nepalese trade in a libido-boosting fungus is booming but experts warn over-exploitation could destroy ecosystem.
Featured
Israel's strategy in Gaza remains uncertain, as internal politics are at play for PM Netanyahu.
Greece is holding as many as 6,000 migrants in detention centres, in conditions that have been called appalling.
Long derided for trivialising women, Bollywood is shrugging off its trademark social apathy by upping anti-rape crusade.
Survey of more than 300 colleges shows 40 percent do; highlights lack of training for administrators, law enforcement.
Three years after independence, South Sudan still struggles to escape poverty and conflict.
join our mailing list