There were protest rally of the bigots in the streets after Jumma prayer today. The rally, mostly composed of madrassa students, was allowed to march from Baitul Mukarram to Shahbag circle, where the rally was stopped using minimum force ( light clubbing).

It is worth mention that this rally was tolerated when the nation is under a state of emergency. Previous such hostile attempts were crushed with the use of horrific force. Exactly one month ago, when Dhaka University students as well as street hawkers took the streets in protest against military and police atrocities, after intial conciliatory efforts, the protests were crushed heavy handedly. Curfew was imposed, convoys of military units cordoned of students residences and they beat the hell out of them before picking up dozens for undisclosed locations. Senior teachers and student leaders were arrested and questioned for weeks, many teachers have been sacked.

It will be interesting to watch how government handles this wave of protests.

paprotest.jpgleafletht.jpg photo and news:

The police Friday charged baton on hundreds of Islamist demonstrators when they marched to besiege the daily Prothom Alo office in Karwan Bazar in the city, leaving 25 injured. The demonstrators took out processions from the north gate of Baitul Mukarram national mosque at about 2pm amid the state of emergency and marched towards the paper’s office. The police intercepted the protesters when the processions reached the Shishu Park in Shahbagh. The agitators wrestled with the police and broke into a security barricade there. The police clubbed and dispersed the protesters who retreated to Dhaka University area. The demonstrators demanded closure of publication of the Prothom Alo, which they termed a “Friend of the Jews and Christians”, for carrying a rogue cartoon strip in its satire magazine Aalpin that hurt “religious sensibilities”. Later, they took position on the road in front of the BIRDEM Hospital and chanted slogans including the one: “The den of Prothom Alo will no more be in Bangladesh.” The police again charged baton and chased the protesters to Paribagh area. They held prayers there at about 2:45pm and ended the “siege programme”. The police mounted guard in front of the Prothom Alo office since morning. Protests also were raised during the Friday prayers at the Ambar Shah Mosque in Karwan Bazar against the publication of “objectionable cartoon”. The mosque’s chief cleric said it was an offence that could not be forgiven. He, however, asked devotees not to take out any procession or resort to violence. Earlier, many Islamist organisations including Hizbut Tahrir have started demonstrations in Baitul Mukarram after Friday prayers.

[Leaflet courtesy sachalayatan]