The BNP has alleged that the government has become desperate to eliminate it and other parties by indiscriminately arresting the opposition leaders and activists across the country.

Speaking at a virtual press briefing, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi yesterday said arresting party leaders and activists and placing them on remand are now one of the best weapons of the government to cling to power.

He said police along with the "ruling party cadres" attacked the pro-democratic opposition activists at different places across the country on the second day of the three-day nationwide blockade yesterday like they did on the first day.

"The government is also adopting all methods to eliminate democracy from the country. They are doing this desperately," Rizvi said.

He said the government is trying to hush up the stories of money laundering by Awami League leaders through suppressing the opposition parties.

The opposition leaders and supporters are being subjected to repression as they are in a movement to restore freedom of speech and all democratic rights, he added.

The BNP leader claimed that at least 2,563 party leaders and activists have been arrested across the country in 55 new cases since October 28. The cases have been filed over the BNP's October 28 grand rally at Nayapaltan, Sunday's hartal and the ongoing blockade.

He said 3,436 BNP leaders and activists were injured and nine people, including a journalist, were killed in police actions during those programmes.

Talking about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's press conference, Rizvi said, "She lied blatantly in front of the whole nation at a press conference at the Gono Bhaban [on Tuesday]. How do you [PM] refute what the countrymen and the international community have closely observed? The UN Human Rights Commission has said people wearing helmets and masks belong to the ruling party."

The BNP leader said people do not believe the false and fabricated allegations made by the premier against the BNP over political violence.

Rizvi said BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas was placed on five-day remand yesterday after being arrested on Tuesday night.

"This is oppression. He [Abbas] is suffering from various diseases, including diabetes… I strongly condemn and protest the persecution and torture of BNP leaders and activists in prisons by the jail authorities."