Bangladesh protesters demand Prime Minister resign, hold fair election

Bangladesh opposition supporters protested on Saturday to demand the resignation of Prime Minister and the leader of Awami League Sheikh Hasina. The protests followed a call to action from the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) to its supporters. Conflicts between police and protestors led to violence and arrests.

Protestors blocked several entry points to the capital Dhaka. Some protestors also threw rocks at police. In response, police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. Dhaka metropolitan police spokesperson Faruq Ahmed admitted to these tactics, saying that officers were injured. Current BNP leader Abdul Moyeen Khan claimed that 1000 supporters have been arrested, which is two times higher than the 500 figure provided by the police.

These protests are among the year-long series of demonstrations demanding a fair election under a caretaker government. BNP believes that the elections in 2018 were not free and fair, despite repeated denials by Hasina. At the time, BNP leader and former Prime Minister of Bangladesh Khaleda Zia was convicted of corruption and boycotted from the election. Hasina won more than 270 seats for Awami League in 2018, which took the majority of the House.

The Bangladesh government has been criticized for human rights violations, undemocratic administrations and inhumane treatments to activists by international organizations and governments. Bangladeshi victims have also spoken out about planned extrajudicial killings, and those who shared their experience have been further investigated and tortured. In response, the United States has restricted the issuing of visas to Bangladeshi citizens who have undermined democratic process in Bangladesh.