The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and affiliated wings have called for nationwide demonstrations to take place between October 13 and 18. These aim to denounce a decision made by a Dhaka court on Wednesday, October 10, sentencing BNP leader, Tarique Rahman, to life in jail in absentia over a 2004 grenade attack that targeted current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Some 19 others, including two former ministers, have been sentenced to death over the deadly attack.
The government has indicated that they will appeal to the Supreme Court to demand the death penalty for Rahman. The opposition will also seek to appeal the decision, further exacerbating surrounding tensions.
Protests, rallies, and human chains are called to be held in all cities across the country. In the capital Dhaka, the protest is expected to be held on October 18. Related clashes between rival groups or with security forces cannot be ruled out.
On a related note, the BNP is likely to increase the frequency of its protests in the run-up to the general elections scheduled to take place in the third week of December, although no specific date has been set as of yet. Rahman, in exile in the UK since 2008, will run the opposition's campaign from London. This ruling is perceived by the opposition as another attempt to destabilize them prior to the electoral period.
Individuals present in Bangladesh, particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong, are advised to avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations due to the risk of violence and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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