Leftist parties lead protests over hike in power price

The Progressive Student Alliance has occupied the Shahbagh intersection to support the half-day strike called by leftist parties to protest the government’s decision to raise the price of electricity.

Staff CorrespondentDhaka University Correspondent and bdnews24.com
Published : 30 Nov 2017, 04:23 AM
Updated : 30 Nov 2017, 04:23 AM

The Communist Party of Bangladesh, Socialist Party of Bangladesh and the Ganatantrik Bam Morcha have been holding protest marches at various locations, including the Paltan, Press Club, Gulistan and Dainik Bangla intersections, as part of their general strike to demand the retraction of the ‘anti-people’ price hike.

There have been no reports of major disturbances since the strike began at 6amon Thursday. Police officials say traffic is regular in all areas except the Shahbagh intersection.

The Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission announced the hike in power price on Oct 23, prompting the leftist parties to announce protests.

BNP later threw its weight behind the strike. The National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports also announced its support for the protests.

Progressive Student Alliance activists started their protest march from Dhaka University’s TSC intersection and headed towards Shahbagh on Thursday morning. They pushed past police in front of the Shahbagh Police Station and took up positions at the Shahbagh intersection.

Police pushed protesters back. The activists then redirected the march to the Sheraton and Katabon intersections before returning to Shahbagh.

“We have been at Shahbagh since this morning,” Progressive Student Alliance Convener and Central Socialist Student Front branch General Secretary Nasir Uddin Prince told bdnews24.com. “We are leading marches and holding a rally. But police have repeatedly attempted to disperse us using a device that generates a loud sound.”

Student Union General Secretary Liton Nandi said they are holding a mobile rally. The strike will continue until 2pm.

The Progressive Student Union had held public rallies on the campus on Tuesdayand a protest march at the TSC intersection on Wednesday evening in support of the strike.

“The government is announcing this price hike at a time that people are already despairing of the high price of necessities such as rice and onions,” Revolutionary Workers Party of Bangladesh General Secretary Saiful Haque said at a press conference at the Old Paltan Mukti Bhaban on Wednesday.

“The price hike will increase living expenses and cause suffering for the working class and low-income people,” he said.

“If we cannot resist the oppression caused by this increase in the price of power now, we will not be able to withstand other attacks in the future.”

CPB General Secretary Shah Alam said further protests would be announced at a rally in front of the National Press Club after the end of the strike.

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