Separate rallies held by the Awami League and BNP in close proximity have escalated into a skirmish in Pallabi. Police have intervened with tear shells and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters.
The BNP and its supporters gathered to protest against the rising prices of daily commodities including fuel oil at the Mukul Fauz field near Muslim Bazar at Section-6 on Thursday
The Awami League and its supporters, on the other hand, met at Eidgah ground at Block D of Section-12 to mourn the death of their leader Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury.
Parvez Islam, chief of Pallabi Police Station, said the clash occurred after 2 pm and it took police one and a half hours to control the situation.
No casualties have been reported. A stone was thrown from the BNP group toward the Awami League as the two sides were making their way to the rallies and set off the violence, Parvez said.
The arrival of police transformed the clash into a three-way skirmish, blocking off traffic and forcing the stores shut.
Inspector (operations) Uday Kumar Mondol said the Awami League meeting started around 2:30 pm and ended an hour and a half later but the BNP crowd never returned after dispersing.
Aminul Haque, a BNP member secretary, claimed that the leaders and supporters of the party arrived there “with the permission of police” and upon their arrival, the supporters of Awami League, Jubo League and Chhatra League began “assaulting with sticks”, while police fired tear shells.
Aminul said the clash was a testament to the Awami League's efforts to quell the BNP’s demonstrations against rising commodity prices.
Sheikh Bazlur Rahman, the president of Awami League’s Dhaka North unit, said their rally was "planned" and the BNP later announced a gathering there as well. Though the BNP later changed the location, it was not too far away.
The Awami League leader mentioned that they were “instructed” to avoid altercations with the rallies being held at such close distances. “But some overenthusiastic people got involved in a mess.”
OC Parvez later confirmed that the situation was brought under control.