Shahbagh waits for a spark

With the supporting crowds swelling and the list of high-profile celebrity and political endorsements growing, the protesting youths are preparing for their ‘grand rally’ at 3pm on Friday at Shahbagh.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 7 Feb 2013, 02:50 PM
Updated : 7 Feb 2013, 10:56 PM

The protest, that has resonated among the mass, rolled into a third straight day on Thursday and is expected to turn massive at the place they have dubbed as ‘Prajanma Chattar.

The organisers have called upon every citizen to join their on-going movement and chant slogans demanding death penalty for Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Molla.

The war crimes trial campaign, which bloggers took to Shahbagh, has also helped the freedom fighters regain their lost confidence in the youth.

Amiruddin Ahmed, a resident of Dhanmondi’s Shankar, was among the thousands of people who have joined the protest at Shahbagh.

“After coming here I have realised that the national flag is secure at the hands of our children,” he said.

The sexagenarian freedom fighter, who came there with his wife Rijia Amir, became quite emotional:” I pray from my heart that they grow big in life.”

Many of the 1971 ‘Golden Generation’ like Ahmed have found their hangout at ‘Prajonma Chatar’ to fresh draw inspiration.

The agitation for the demand spread across the country after a handful of protesters had started it on Tuesday at Shahbagh.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue and Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal took out a procession that started from the Dhaka University’s Doyel Chattar and ended at Bahadur Shah Park at Old Dhaka. Sector Commanders’ Forum has observed a programme at the Central Shaheed Minar with similar demand.

যুদ্ধাপরাধের মামলায় জামায়াতে ইসলামী নেতা কাদের মোল্লার ফাঁসির দাবিতে বৃহস্পতিবার রাজধানীতে পতাকা মিছিল করে সম্মিলিত সাংস্কৃতিক জোট।

Leaders of several political parties and other organisations visited the scene and expressed solidarity with the protestors in the last two days amid growing popular buzz.
The protestors, however, snubbed Awami League Joint Secretary General and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Special Assistant Mahbub-ul Alam Hanif on Thursday afternoon. He was denied the opportunity to deliver a speech and hurled with water bottles.
Awami League Presidium Member Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury had visited Shahbagh Wednesday on night, but she also returned without making a speech.
However, several Awami League leaders earlier visited Shahbagh and expressed their solidarity with the protestors.
As soon as Hanif left the spot, an announcement from the main stage said no political leader will be allowed to speak at Friday’s rally.
The International Crimes Tribunal-2 pronounced life in prison for Molla on Tuesday.
An internet activist body, Blogger and Online Activist Forum, rejected the verdict as ‘too light’ hours after the judgement was delivered and called for a protest at Shahbagh.
People from other districts have started to flood the venue ahead of Friday’s programme.
The protestors have been singing, reciting poems, shouting slogans, screening films and making speeches.
Students from schools, colleges and universities sporting the nation flag on their heads started thronging the area since Thursday morning

যুদ্ধাপরাধের মামলায় জামায়াতে ইসলামীর নেতা কাদের মোল্লার ফাঁসির দাবিতে বৃহস্পতিবার শাহবাগে গণস্বাক্ষর সংগ্রহ করা হয়।

More and more joined in as the day wore on, mostly young men and women, some with musical instruments to play. Many carried the national flag.
At around 10:30pm, it was announced that students of some of the universities in the United Kingdom have lent their support to the protest.
Students of the Faculty of Fine Arts are drawing images on the streets stretching from Shahbagh to International Crime tribunal.
A mass signature campaign was conducted on Thursday demanding capital punishment to war criminals.
The protestors say they will stay put until their demands are met.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher