Aug 30 2007

Bangladesh Curfew Lifted

Feature Stories | Published 30 Aug 2007, 11:47 am | Comments Off on Bangladesh Curfew Lifted -

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GUEST:Sumaiya Islam, Community Organizer with South Asian Network

Earlier this week, the military-backed government of Bangladesh lifted an overnight curfew that had been imposed on six main cities. The curfew was the government’s response to demonstrations that began on August 20th at Dhaka University by students demanding the removal of army posts on college campuses. The students also protested the failure of the army-backed government which declared a state of emergency on January 12, to clean up Bangladesh’s corrupt politics before holding elections by 2008. Protests spread to other colleges across the country and then onto city streets. Many vendors and slum-dwellers also joined the heated street protests, setting vehicles on fire and damaging buildings and public property. One person was killed and hundreds were wounded, prompting the government to impose the curfew. Since its implementation more than 144 people have been arrested for violating the nighttime curfew since last Wednesday. In late 2006, a so-called caretaker government was installed according to the Bangladeshi Constitution, to ensure fair voting and transfer of power. However the temporary arrangement, slated to last three months, was prolonged as the 2006 election was postponed indefinitely. This past January, the non-partisan head of the caretaker government stepped down, many believe due to pressure from the military. Emergency law was declared with an interim authority currently headed by Bangladesh’s former central bank chief Fakhruddin Ahmed.

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