Hot on the hills of the 24-hour blockade, the BNP and like-minded parties are set to enforce a daylong hartal on Thursday, the last date for the submission of nomination papers to contest the 12th parliamentary polls.
The opposition parties’ shutdown is meant to register their protest against the schedule for the next national election announced by the Election Commission (EC), and to mount pressure on the government to quit, hold the next election under a non-party neutral government and release the opposition leaders and activists, including BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
The shutdown will begin at 6am and end at 6pm Thursday, said BNP’s Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi .
Earlier, the 24-hour blockade enforced by the opposition parties on Wednesday morning was marked by stray incidents of torching vehicles.
Opposition leaders and activists brought out sudden processions in different areas of the capital in support of the programme which will end at 6 am on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Rizvi called upon the opposition leaders and workers to make the shutdown programme on Thursday a success by taking to the streets with courage.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, he said, “The opposition leaders and workers will observe Thursday’s hartal program wholeheartedly by risking their lives,” he said.
The BNP leader also called upon the people from all walks of life to extend their spontaneous support to the hartal to press home their demand for a free, fair and credible election.
He alleged that the government has continued arresting and raiding the houses of BNP leaders and activists across the country as part of the government’s suppressive policy.
“BNP leaders and workers are going through a tough time…they’re living their lives like refugees and destitute. They have no scope to enjoy the human rights enshrined by the Constitution. It seems getting killed and imprisoned are written in their fate," Rizvi said.
He said the country now only belongs to Sheikh Hasina and Awami League. “Sheikh Hasina's policy is either to support me or keep quiet.”
The BNP leader also alleged that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has let loose law enforcers and her musclemen to subdue the opposition leaders and workers.
He claimed that at least 365 BNP leaders and workers were arrested across the country in the last 24 hours as of 5pm on Wednesday.
Rizvi thanked the country’s people and the opposition leaders and activists for making Wednesday’s blockade programme a success.
The opposition parties have so far observed blockades in eight phases to mount pressure on the Awami League government to quit power and hold the next election under a non-partisan administration.
They also observed a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal on October 29 in protest against the attacks on BNP’s grand rally at Nayapaltan that ended amid the incidents of torching vehicles and clashes, leaving three people dead.