Anti-government protesters clash with police in Bangladesh

Featured image: Protesters attacking a police vehicle in Dhaka. Source: Al Jazeera.

Tens of thousands clashed with the police in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Saturday in anti-government protests. The protesters demanded that the current prime minister Sheikh Hasina resigns. Protesters blocked central roads in the capital city, and fought the riot police, which fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowds. Transportation to other parts of the country was heavily disturbed. Tens of police officers were injured in the clashes. Also earlier this month there was protests, with the police opening fire at protesters and killing at least one person.

Protesters severely disturbed the traffic in and around the capital city of Bangladesh. Source:

The protests were called upon by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which opposes the current ruling party Awami League (AL) and tries to control the protests in its favor. However, the protests are not just about the BNP, and pictures show the masses going beyond the limit of “peaceful and democratic” protest, which the BNP has called for. Recently, anti-government protests have grown larger, with the masses protesting the risen costs of living and repression, which has increased under the current government. The protests unite vast layers of the people, and many are not part of any political party. Especially the poorest, but also other parts of the people, are suffering from the fast rising prices and the economical crisis. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Already in 2022 over 11% of the population was undernourished, and the situation is just becoming worse. With the sound of dissatisfaction growing louder and louder, the government tries to silence it, for example with the Digital Security Act, which has been used to imprison those who raise criticism. For example, in April we wrote on the case of a journalist who had written on the hunger of the people in Bangladesh and was persecuted. Torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings of those who oppose the government are not uncommon.

Elections will be held in Bangladesh in 2024, and the BNP seeks to channel the justified anger of the masses to benefit it in its struggle against its rivaling section of the ruling classes. The BNP has raised doubts that the process might be rigged against it and demanded a ”neutral care-taker government” to rule until the January elections, or it will not participate in the elections. It is trying to make the protests about ”voting rights”. The US and the EU have urged the parties to work together for a “free” election. The US has also placed visa restrictions on those who “undermine” the election process in Bangladesh in any way. The election will be used by both of the parties to create an illusion of choice, and especially the AL will be looking to make the elections seem as ”fair” as possible, with a high turnout. ”A highly placed source” in the AL also told the US newspaper The Diplomat that they are looking to get ”a team of high-level European lobbyists, who include a former prime minister, several former European parliamentarians, and former diplomats” to manage relations to the US and the European Union in the case of ”one-sided” elections. Which ever party wins, it will be certain that it will not be able to fix the crisis or contain the anger of the masses.

Previous post Notes on the Coup in Niger
Next post Germany: Nazi references at AfD party conference