Three senior leaders of Bangladesh’s Opposition party were arrested in Dhaka on Friday after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina refused to hold talks with politicians demanding her resignation, reported AFP.
Violent clashes had erupted in the country on October 28 as Opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party protestors held demonstrations in the country alleging that free and fair polls are not possible under the Awami League’s regime. The country will hold general elections in January.
The party has demanded a caretaker government to supervise the elections, saying that Hasina might engage in undemocratic practices to retain power.
In the run up to the protests on October 28, the police had arrested over 1,200 leaders and activists of the main Opposition party, reported The Daily Star.
At least four protestors were killed in the clashes with security forces in the country. During one of the protests in Dhaka, a police official died and more than 100 people were injured, reported the BBC.
Following this, Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s top leader Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir was arrested. On Friday, the police arrested another top leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, party’s spokesperson Zahir Uddin Swapan and its Dhaka unit chief Aminul Huq, reported AFP.
The Bangladesh Police had earlier said that at least 2,113 people were arrested over the past week on charges of violence during the Opposition-led protests, reported AFP.
The protestors vandalised public property and attempted to block roads and railway lines.
On Thursday, Hasina addressed Parliament and declared that she will not hold talks with the Opposition.
“Who would ask for talks with these beasts?” she asked. Hasina also accused Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s son of hiring killers to assassinate her, reported AFP.
Human rights organisation Amnesty International on Monday said that expressing dissent against government is not a crime.
“The repeated cycle of killings, arrests and repression in Bangladesh has deeply chilling implications on human rights in the country before, during and after the elections,” said Yasasmin Kaviratne, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner for South Asia. “Once again, Amnesty International urges the Bangladeshi authorities to stop the crack down on protesters and instead fulfil their duty to facilitate peaceful assemblies.”
In April, Hasina had accused the United States of seeking a regime change in Bangladesh after Washington pulled up her party on issues related to human rights.
In May, the US had announced that it will restrict visas to Bangladeshis who undermine the democratic election process in their own country.