BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has demanded that the government step down, warning that otherwise they "would not get a chance to escape".

"Arresting [opposition members] from their homes has begun again. I want to ask the ruling party: have you not oppressed us enough in the last 15 years? Have you been able to suppress our demands? Resign immediately, otherwise you will have no time to escape," he said at the party's rally at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital yesterday.

The BNP and other like-minded parties yesterday held programmes across the country for the same demand. The opposition did not announce any new programme yesterday. Fakhrul said their next programme will be announced after holding meetings with like-minded parties.

Speaking about the BNP's ongoing movement, Fakhrul said, "Awami League has been bowled out by BNP's googly deliveries on Friday and Saturday. They did not understand from which direction the ball came. We have come a long way. We are reaching the final stage for winning."

Referring to attacks on BNP leaders during the party's sit-in programme on Friday (28 July), Fakhrul said Awami League has done horrible things during the programme.

"The worst thing they did was beating up freedom fighter Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, staging a drama in the Detective Branch office, and then blackmailing him with a video – a huge hoax," said the BNP secretary general.

Fakhrul also blasted independent US election observer Terry L Isley over his recent remarks regarding the issue of a polls-time caretaker government in Bangladesh.

Alleging that Isley has been hired by the Election Monitoring Forum Chairman Abed Ali, the BNP leader said, "That hired guy says there is no need for a caretaker government. Wow! Who are you to make such comments, brother? You are a hired man."

Besides, calling on the government employees, Fakhrul said, "We have heard that the prime minister asked you not to be afraid? There is no need to be afraid if you have not done anything wrong.

"We want to ask the [government] officials not to interfere in people's peaceful programmes, and to stop the arrests."

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will continue its movement until the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is ousted, leaders of the party said yesterday.

"Preparations have been taken for the movement, it will continue until this government steps down," BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said at the rally.

He said, "People across the world have fought for their rights, and have come to the streets. Taking to the streets is not unconstitutional or illegal. The movement will be on the streets, any obstacle will be fought and resisted."

Regarding the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's ban on broadcasting Tarique Rahman's speech at the rally, Khosru said, "The issue of who will lead Bangladesh is not going to be decided by the court, administration or government officials. The people of

Bangladesh have decided on Tarique Rahman on 28 July. They have accepted Tarique Rahman's leadership."

BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said Awami League's plan to foil the opposition's sit-in programmes backfired.

"When people are peacefully protesting to restore democracy and the right to vote in the country, Awami League is forming 'Peace Committees' like Yahya and Tikka Khan," he said.

Regarding the clashes during the BNP's sit-in programme on 28 July, Rizvi alleged, "[Awami League] carried out assaults on our leader Gayeshwar Chandra Roy and Jubo Dal leader Sajid Hasan Babu. Amanullah Aman was dragged away. Their [Awami League's] peace rally seems to be spreading the smell of gunpowder in the air and shedding blood on the streets. They call it a peace rally. We will now build resistance in each neighbourhood to halt their peace rallies."

Also speaking on the ban on broadcasting Tarique Rahman's speech, the senior BNP leader said, "The police gave us permission for the rally on 21/23 conditions. One of the conditions was that the speech of a convicted person cannot be published.

"A ban has been imposed on broadcasting Tarique Rahman's speech because he has united the people, the party leaders and activists across the country," he said.

Senior Leaders of the BNP and its associate organisations including Jubo Dal and Krishak Dal also spoke at the rally.