The call came at around 11:15pm on Saturday night from the "Ganajagaran Mancha" at ‘Prajanmo Chattar’, the site of the protest from where demonstrators are demanding capital punishment for all war criminals and a ban on Jamaat-e-Islami.
Making the announcement, one of the organisers, Blogger and Online Activist Network’s Imran H Sarker urged the people not "stay at home" and "take a stand" against the shutdown
“Do not stay at home. Please come out. Let us all together reject and resist the Jamaat and Shibir sponsored general strike,” he said.
Striking an emotional chord he said, “Don’t worry about your cars. Please remember, the sovereignty and independence of Bangladesh is much more precious then your one car. If we don’t take it to streets, our future generation won’t forgive us. Please be aware that your silence shouldn't be seen as a compromise with Bangladesh’s sovereignty and independence.”
“Let us all come down to the streets and protect our loving country,” he added.
Sarker also announced fresh programmes, including wearing black badges and hoisting black flags on Monday to protest against the murder of blogger and online activist Ahmed Rajib Haider.
Rajib, one of the voices that echoed the demand of the millions over the past 12 days seeking death penalty to the war criminals, was found murdered near his Palashnagar residence at the capital’s Mirpur on Friday night.
His family and friends blamed it on the activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student affiliate Islami Chhatra Shibir as he had been blogging against their activities which made him a possible “target” of the religion-based organisation.
The Blogger and Online Activist Network had begun the movement at Shahbagh on Feb 5 rejecting the International Crimes Tribunal-2 verdict which sentenced Jamaat Assistant Secretary General Abdul Quader Molla to life imprisonment for his crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
The movement spread across the country like blazing fire demanding death sentence for all war criminals. The protesters are also demanding ban of Jamaat’s politics.
Meanwhile, Rajib’s death has fuelled the movement at Shahbagh. Demonstrators wore black badges on Saturday morning. His namaj-e-janaza was also held at Shahbagh in the afternoon as hundreds and thousands of protesters joined the funeral prayers.
Earlier in the morning, the day’s programme at the Prajanmo Chattar’s Ganajagarn Mancha begun with one-minute silence remembering Rajib.
Then the air filled with slogans and songs of protest after the national anthem.
The protesters also announced hoisting of the the national flag and singing of the national anthem at 10am on Sunday in all educational institutions, offices, courts, government offices and factories.
Reminding the people about the protest programmes on Sunday, Imran H Sarker on Saturday night said, “Keep the schools, colleges, educational institutions, offices, courts, factories open on Sunday and also on Monday. Do not be scared. Everyone is in the streets and they will be there.”