The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party said on Monday that Bangladesh, bought at the price of blood, would not accept the supremacy of any country.

‘If any country thinks that they will rule over us, they should know that the people of Bangladesh have never accepted that rule. It was not done during the Mughal period, it was not done during the British period, and it was not done during the Pakistani period. It will not be done again,’ BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, addressing a rally.

Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal organised the rally in front of the BNP Naya Paltan central office on the occasion of Independence Day.

It was the first rally of the opposition in front of the party office since October 28, 2023, when police and ruling Awami League activists thwarted a grand rally of the BNP through brutal attacks.

The attacks led to the arrest of thousands of BNP leaders and activists, including Fakhrul, in the run-up to the January 7 national election, boycotted by the BNP and most other opposition parties.

Several hundred party leaders, activists, and freedom fighters joined the rally, while stickers in the backdrop of the stage carried a slogan that read ‘Boycott Indian Products.’

Addressing the rally, Fakhrul said that people joined the war against the Pakistani army to build a democratic Bangladesh, but the dreams of 1971 are now elusive.

‘Bengali students, youth, farmers, labourers, and soldiers joined the War of Independence intending to build a democratic Bangladesh, where people will have freedom of speech, a government elected by people’s vote, and economic emancipation, but it’s a matter of sorrow that 1971’s dreams are now elusive,’ he said.

He also said that the ruling Awami League had established one-party rule in the country under the guise of democracy.

‘They have no constitutional right to rule the people of the country as they formed a government without the people’s mandate and by staging one-sided polls on January 7, which was not acceptable to our foreign friends either,’ he added.

He claimed that the government was using modern technology to keep an eye on opposition leaders’ and activists’ daily activities. When people try to stage protests against the ruling party, then they use spyware to suppress them.

‘The movement against a fascist regime is not easy, but we have been continuing it for 15 years,’ he said.

Twenty-two leaders and activists of the BNP have sacrificed their lives in the past two years, he said, adding that thousands of BNP leaders and activists had been imprisoned and were living an inhumane life in jail.

‘We believe that no one has the power to subjugate this country. This terrible ruling group, who are doing various dramas and occupying power by force, must go one day,’ he said.

Referring to former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, Fakhrul said, ‘Look at Pakistan. Imran Khan has shown how to bring youth into the field. He has shown how to bring women into the field.’

Fakhrul said that the then-Awami League tried to negotiate with Pakistan until March 25, 1971.

‘As it failed, leaders fled and their top leader was taken into Pakistan’s custody through courted arrest,’ he said.

In his speech, BNP vice chairman Hafiz Uddin Ahmed said that an autocratic regime is in power in the country where elections were turned into a farce.

The leaders of different associate organisations of BNP also spoke on the occasion.