Terror strikes roads
[Bangla Daily Star] Even before the sun broke through the winter fog, thousands of BNP and Jamaat activists took absolute control of Dhaka's entry points yesterday and went on the rampage, bashing and torching vehicles, and sending terror down the spine of city dwellers.

At least two people were killed during the violence. A Jamaat activist died in Sirajganj town during a clash with Awami League activists. In Dhaka's Sutrapur, a tailor died in the beating by Chhatra League
... the student wing of the Bangla Awami League ...
activists who mistook him for a blockader.

The opposition has called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal
... a peculiarly Bangla combination of a general strike and a riot, used by both major political groups in lieu of actual governance ...
tomorrow and demonstrations today protesting what they said government sabotage of their blockade programme.

The BNP activists emboldened by their Jamaat and Shibir allies, overran a few ruling Awami League activists who tried feebly to resist the blockaders. The Awami League activists had firearms with them, but in most cases they tuck their tails and bravely ran away. The law enforcement agencies mostly remained silent spectators, as if in a truce with the rampaging activists.

Later, the Awami League activists made a comeback with the protection of police and chased and beat up the blockaders. In some areas, opposition activists engaged in festivities with police and ruling party men.

In one terror strike, the blockaders threw a Molotov cocktail from an under-construction building on a police patrol car on Panthapath in the capital. The car went up in flames and three coppers were maimed.

The city took a deserted look and hardly any vehicles plied the streets as the blockade turned into something tougher than hartal.

Some of the violent incidents had the telltale signs of the recent Shibir attacks. The blockaders came out of alleys very early in the morning, vandalised and torched vehicles in their blitzkrieg attacks and then vanished. Vehicles parked in front of hospitals and even inside residences were not spared in some cases.

Clashes between blockaders, ruling party men and law enforcers took place in and around the capital and other places in the country. More than 70 homemade bombs went off, around 50 vehicles were torched, including five police vehicles, and over 150 others were vandalised yesterday.

At least 250 people and 40 coppers were maimed.

There were reports of festivities in Sirajganj, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Lalmonirhat and Laxmipur.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam, however, termed the violence a government sabotage.

At a presser at party's central office at Nayapaltan, he claimed, "Four people were killed, 665 were tossed in the clink
Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out!
and over 600 were maimed across the country."

some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them...
Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Gazi Rabiul Islam said 162 people were arrested in connection with the violence.

BNP's national standing committee and the 18-party alliance last night sat at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia
Three-term PM of Bangla, widow of deceased dictator Ziaur Rahman, head of the Bangla Nationalist Party, an apparent magnet for corruption ...
's Gulshan office to decide their next course of action.

Fakhrul disclosed their decision on the hartal after the meeting and said it was called to protest the government's effort to obstruct yesterday's blockade.

He said they would stage demonstrations today as well.

The BNP-led 18-party alliance on November 29 called the blockade from 6:00am to 2:00pm yesterday for detaching the capital form the rest of the country to press home their demands. Their demands include restoration of the caretaker government system to oversee the next parliamentary elections.

Posted by: Fred 2012-12-10