Several hurt as police crack down on Gonotontro Moncho rally in Dhaka

Clashes erupt during the opposition alliance's demonstration against soaring commodity prices and irregularities in the banking sector

Published : 28 Feb 2024, 09:56 AM
Updated : 28 Feb 2024, 09:56 AM

Several members of the Gonotontro Moncho, an alliance of opposition parties, have reportedly been injured after clashing with the police during a rally in Dhaka's Zero Point area.

The group had gathered outside the Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday to protest against rising living costs and irregularities plaguing the banking sector.

As they began marching towards the Secretariat, police cracked down on the protesters, according to Saiful Haque, general secretary of the Bangladesh Workers Party.

He claimed that around 50 people, including alliance coordinator Junaid Saki, were hurt in efforts to break through police barricades.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Shah Alam Md Akhtarul Islam of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Ramna Zone said the protesters were dispersed when they tried to breach a barrier into the KPI area.

Police subsequently detained a few people, Shah Alam said, without getting into specifics.

The ADC alleged that the protesters threw objects and attacked officers, adding that the details on any injured policemen would be disclosed later.

Haque condemned the police's use of force against what he described as a peaceful demonstration, highlighting the injury suffered by Junaid Saki during the altercation.

Saki was also critical of the police's aggressive response. "The police charged at us with batons. I tried to ask them not to use force but the policemen charged at me instead."

ADC Shah Alam said the gathering was unauthorised.

"We asked them to disband but they proceeded with a protest march towards Zero Point, attempting to breach police barricades to enter the Secretariat area. Despite assurances of a peaceful march, they physically assaulted officers and attempted to push through our barriers."

He emphasised that efforts to disperse the crowd were made with minimum force after repeated attempts to reason with them failed.