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Bangladesh opposition to push ahead with mass march

27 December 2013 18:58

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Bangladesh opposition leader has called for a mass demonstration in capital, Dhaka, to protest the upcoming general elections in defiance of a police ban.

The leader of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Khaleda Zia, on Friday encouraged her supporters to take part in the rally scheduled for Sunday “and defy all the obstacles that are being placed in our way, so that we can save democracy.”

“Our protests will continue until the government is ousted,” she said in a video message.

The call came in response to a Dhaka police statement that they would not sanction the December 29 rally, citing fears of violence and sabotage.

The two-time former prime minister appealed to her supporters to join the Sunday march “even if I cannot stay with you.”

BNP officials say Zia has been under “virtual” house arrest since Wednesday with police forces “not allowing anyone, including party leaders and activists, to meet her.”

Zia’s BNP and 20 other opposition parties have boycotted the January 5 polls citing fears that the government would manipulate the results of the elections.

Opposition parties have urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to postpone the elections and resign, but she has refused to concede.

Despite the refusal of foreign countries to send neutral observers, Hasina has insisted on holding the election as previously planned, saying that “there is no power which can stop the elections.”

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