Leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) announced on Monday, October 29, that it will hold three days of nationwide protests following the sentencing of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia. Earlier on Monday, the Dhaka Special Judge Court 5 sentenced Zia and three others to seven years in prison. The BNP is calling for supporters to demonstrate in all metropolitan cities and district towns, including the capital Dhaka, beginning on Tuesday, October 30. A human chain protest is expected to be held in front of the Jatiya Press Club for an hour starting at 11:00 (local time) on Wednesday, October 31, in Dhaka. On the following day, a symbolic hunger strike will be held either at the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh or Mahanagar Natya Mancha in Dhaka on Thursday, November 1, from 13:00 until 16:00. Additional rallies will likely be held in the near term, including in the capital. Heightened security measures and traffic disruptions are expected around all protest sites.
Zia was jailed for five years in February 2018 in connection with an embezzlement scheme worth USD 250,000. Her BNP supporters claim the case is politically motivated and a bid to keep Zia out of the next general elections, scheduled for December 2018. The BNP has held regular protests in recent months demanding her release.
Individuals present in Dhaka, and Bangladesh more generally, are advised to avoid all public gatherings and political rallies as a precaution and adhere to any instructions issued by local authorities.
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