Bangladesh’s Road Transport and Bridge Ministry announced a 24-hour ban on the use of private and public motor vehicles on Sunday, December 23, during the upcoming parliamentary elections. The ban will be in effect from 00:01 (local time) on Saturday, December 29, until 23:59 on Monday, December 30. Authorities have also banned the use of motorcycles from Friday, December 28, until 00:01 on Monday, January 1. Some individuals will be exempt from the ban, including parliamentary candidates, accredited electoral observers and journalists, and emergency service personnel.
Additional heightened security measures are expected nationwide during the vote on December 30. Further political rallies are also likely in the coming days and clashes between supporters of rival political parties, as well as with security forces, cannot be ruled out.
Deadly electoral violence has been reported across Bangladesh in recent weeks. The government deployed around 20,000 additional security personnel from the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on December 15 following clashes between supporters of the ruling Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). At least six people were killed and another 180 wounded in the violence.
The 2018 election will largely pit the ruling Awami League, led by three-term Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, against an opposition coalition dominated by the BNP. The opposition coalition's candidate for prime minister is Kamal Hossain of the Gano Forum political party.
Individuals in Bangladesh in the coming weeks leading up to the December 30 election are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all political rallies and public demonstrations due to the risk of violence, refrain from discussing political topics in public, and anticipate large public demonstrations and associated disruptions, including a heightened security presence, road closures, and transportation and business disruptions.
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