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Friday, February 22, 2013

[] Day 19, Shahbag Movement: Youths rises again to Rally at Rayerbazar today

Day 19, Shahbag Movement: Youths rises again to Rally at Rayerbazar today

As the Jamaat-Shibir and its alliases unleashed a reign of terror targeting the Shahbag movement, protesters returned to the Shahbag intersection yesterday afternoon, about 16 hours after the nonstop movement was wrapped up.

Protesting against the countrywide violence, burning and tearing down of national flag and damaging Shaheed Minars in Dhaka and other districts, the Blogger and Online Activist Network began demonstrating all over the country since 7:00pm.

In Dhaka, Imran H Sarker, convener of the Network, issued an ultimatum to the government to arrest within 24 hours Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of daily Amar Desh for "publishing motivating stories and instigating the violence".

"We have decided to continue our demonstrations round the clock until our demands are met," he said and added, "Our demand is simple. The organisations liable for war crimes during the Liberation War in 1971 must be banned."

He said the Shahbag protesters demanded exemplary punishment to those who attacked journalists during the violence. "The Jamaat-Shibir carried out attacks across the country to foil our prayer-programme," he said.

At 3:00pm today, protesters will hold a rally at Rayerbazar Baddhabhumi (mass killing ground) as announced on Thursday, but will carry national flags in protest at the Jamaat-Shibir men burning and tearing down the national flag, organisers said last night.

Organisers also urged the people to demonstrate with national flags across the country in protest against the violence.

The mass-signature campaign will resume at 10:00am today before the national museum and will continue till 10:00pm for a second day.

Imran said protesters carrying national flags would resist Sunday's hartal called by the Islamist parties.

He also formally wrapped up yesterday's protests around 11:00pm, saying the movement would continue today as announced on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, people from all walks of life started gathering at the protest venue from around 2:00pm, chanting slogans against Jamaat-Shibir.

In port city Chittagong, thousands of protesters thronged the protest venue chanting slogans against Jamaat-Shibir. An angry mob damaged windowpanes of the offices of Diganta Television and daily Sangram -- two media houses linked with Jamaat -- near Cheragi Pahar Mor, reports our district correspondent.

Shahidul Islam Shamim, a service holder who joined the Shahbag protest yesterday, said as activists of Jamaat and its affiliated organisations attacked police and journalists their politics must be banned.

"Leaders of these parties should be given exemplary punishment," he said.

"We have been here for the last 17 days. We must not leave Shahbag," said Fazle Masudur Rahman, another protester.

Zahirul Islam, a businessman, agrees and says: "It seems they [Jamaat] won't let me live in my own country."

The Shahbag movement began on February 5, hours after Jamaat assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for rape, killing and genocide in 1971. Protesters say a life term is too lenient a punishment for Mollah, known as the "Butcher of Mirpur" for his notorious role in the killing of hundreds during the war. Protesters have been demanding capital punishment to Mollah and all other war criminals.

On Thursday, issuing an ultimatum to the government to bring war crimes charges against Jamaat-e-Islami and initiate the legal process by March 26 to ban the party, the Shahbagh protesters announced a series of countrywide programmes beginning yesterday.

The programmes include special prayers at mosques after Juma prayers as well as at churches, pagodas and temples yesterday and holding more grand rallies, demonstrations and cultural programmes at different parts in Dhaka and other divisional cities.

Organisers had also told on Thursday night that although the protesters would not keep the Shahbag intersection occupied for 24 hours from yesterday, they would gather at the venue the day before the war crimes tribunal is to deliver a verdict.



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