The police on Tuesday foiled the black-flag processions of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party in different parts of the country, including in the capital Dhaka, as the main opposition party attempted to hold the programme protesting at the first session of the 12th Jatiya Sangsad on Tuesday.

‘We called for a peaceful programme across the country protesting against the illegal, dummy parliament that went into session today. Police carried out attacks on our programmes in Dhaka and other places without any provocation,’ BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said at a press conference on Tuesday evening at the party’s Naya Paltan central office.

Rizvi alleged that police arrested 50 leaders and activists of the party while over 100 were injured in attacks by police in different places as they attempted to hold the black-flag processions.

In Dhaka, the police did not allow the BNP to bring out the procession at any point, citing a lack of permission.

The BNP and like-minded opposition parties were supposed to take out processions holding black flags across the country, including in the capital, demanding a fresh election under a non-party government.

In the capital, BNP’s Dhaka south city unit was scheduled to bring out the black-flag procession in front of Pirjungi Mazar, Jatrabari’s Kadamtoli Bus Station, New Market, and Dayaganj crossing, while the Dhaka north city unit was in front of Suvastu Nazar Valley Shopping Mall at Shahjadpur, Uttara Section-12, and near a mosque at Mirpur-6 to press home their demand.

BNP leaders and activists started gathering in the designated spots with black flags to hold their programmes but police obstructed them from bringing out any processions, saying that the party did not get per mission for the programme from the Dhaka Metropolitan Police authorities.

Police picked up BNP standing committee member Abdul Moyeen Khan as he went to Uttara-12 in the capital around 2:00pm to join BNP’s black-flag procession.

As Moyeen was addressing the gathering, a group of police obstructed him and took him to a police van.

Later, the BNP leader was released and allowed to go to his Gulshan residence while riding in his vehicle.

Md Shahjahan, the deputy commissioner of the Uttara Division of DMP, said that Moyeen Khan was picked up and later released due to ‘security’ grounds.

DMP’s Uttara Zone’s additional deputy commissioner Mirza Salahuddin said the party tried to hold a programme without any permission.

He said that the BNP sought permission from the DMP to hold the programme, but the party was not permitted to maintain law and order in the city.

‘That is why we didn’t allow them to hold the programme,’ he said.

Police also foiled the BNP’s processions in other areas of the capital and detained some BNP leaders and activists.

BNP standing committee member Gayeshwar Chandra Roy went to Pirjungi Mazar in the capital’s Motijheel area around 2:20pm but failed to bring out the procession. He said that holding rallies and processions is a democratic and constitutional right of political parties.

‘We sent a letter to the DMP commissioner informing them about our plans to peacefully bring out processions at seven places in the capital. But the police obstructed us everywhere. We strongly condemn and protest this action of the police,’ he said.

He said the government was arresting BNP leaders and workers and not allowing them to hold a peaceful programme without any justified reason.

The office-in-charge of Motijheel police station, Abul Kalam Azad, said that BNP did not get permission to hold the programme.

In Rajshahi, witnesses said that BNP leaders and activists brought out a black-flag procession in front of the party office at 3:00pm.

However, police obstructed them in front of the Malopara police outpost, a few metres away from the BNP’s party office.

Later, BNP leaders and activists held a short rally in front of the party office, witnesses added.

Ershad Ali Esha, convener of Rajshahi Metropolitan BNP, told that police foiled their black-flag procession, although the Awami-Jubo League leaders and activists went in front of them with a procession without facing any obstruction from the police.

Meanwhile, BNP leaders and activists attempted to bring out a black-flag procession in front of the KD crossing in Naogaon city at about 11:30am on Tuesday, witnesses said.

Abu Bakkar Siddique, convener of the Naogaon district BNP, alleged that the police foiled their scheduled peaceful black-flag procession.

Contacted, Abdul Ghofur, inspector (investigation) of Naogaon Sadar police station, said that BNP leaders and activists attempted to bring out a procession without getting permission from the authorities concerned.

The police also obstructed BNP leaders and activists in Natore while they were trying to bring out a black-flag procession in front of the party office in the Alaipur area of the district town.

Later, the BNP leaders and activists held a rally in front of the party office, encircled by police.

Shahidul Islam Bachhu, the convener of the Natore district BNP, told New Age that the party leaders and activists could not hold their peaceful programme due to the police’s obstruction.

He, however, said that the black-flag processions were held in the upazilas in the district without any major problems.

Golam Jakaria, convener of Chapainawabganj district BNP, told that they could not hold any programme on Tuesday as the police took positions in front of their party office and other places from where they could bring out the procession.

The party’s Sylhet district president, Abdul Kaiyum Chowdhury, alleged that the leaders and activists of the BNP and its front organisations had taken all kinds of preparations to start a black-flag procession around 2:00pm from the Markaz area at Dakshin Surma in the city and hold a rally after reaching in front of the south end of the Keane Bridge.

Sylhet Metropolitan Police’s additional deputy commissioner (media and community affairs), Md Saiful Islam, told that they deployed forces in different parts of the city for security reasons.

‘Our forces were deployed in different areas of the city for the sake of security,’ he said, adding that the question of resisting the BNP leaders and activists did not arise as they did not go there today to hold any programme.