Tens of thousands of protesters marched in Dhaka on Tuesday, October 27, calling for a boycott of French goods after comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron following the recent killing of school teacher Samuel Paty near Paris in a suspected Islamist attack. Over 40,000 people participated in the march organized by an Islamist party, Islami Andolon Bangladesh (IAB). Supporters marched from Baitul Mukarram National Mosque towards the French Embassy; reports suggest hundreds of police officers erected a barbed-wire barricade to stop protesters reaching the embassy. Media sources indicate that protesters dispersed without violence.
Localized disruptions are likely around the French embassy in the immediate term, with an increased security presence also likely in the area. There is a realistic possibility of further anti-French protests in the capital.
Teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in an attack by an alleged Islamist extremist in the northern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on October 16 after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a civics class. The attack prompted the arrest of a number of people linked to the attacker and comments from President Macron about religious rights and freedom of expression in French society. However, the government's response was seen by some communities as Islamophobic and has prompted a number of protests and calls for boycotts of French goods in some Muslim-majority countries.
Those in Dhaka are advised to monitor developments and avoid the area around the French embassy on Wednesday due to the likely disruptions and risk of crowd disturbances. Travelers should avoid all protests and political gatherings in Iran and heed any directives issued by local authorities.
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