Monday, January 8, 2007

Blockaders - Cops clashes marked first day of Blockade

Capital remains cut off, trains halted, operation in ports suspended

The first day of blockade witnessed Blockaders clash with law enforcers. More than 200 persons were injured as blockaders fought pitched battles with law enforcers in the capital and elsewhere yesterday of the three-day countrywide blockade called by Awami League (AL)-led grand alliance.The blockade cut off the capital from the rest of the country. Military vehicles mounted with automatic weapons patrolled the streets of the capital yesterday. The army and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members were seen guarding different strategic points in the city. Hundreds of rubber bullets, tear gas shells fired in Adabor in capital. Several hundred army personnel were drawn together in Adabor after the area witnessed the worst clash of the day between grand alliance activists and police leaving around 50 injured.

Only the vehicles carrying Hajj pilgrims and journalists, ambulances, all exams and pharmacies were exempted from the 72-hour blockade. Besides, clashes and chases took place between the blockaders and police at Maghbazar, Russel Square, Matshya Bhaban crossing, Zero point, Tanti Bazar, Lalbagh, and Badda. Police arrested 106 activists of the grand alliance in the city. Around 100 leaders of both AL-led grand alliance and BNP-led four-party alliance were injured in sporadic clashes in different places outside the capital as well. Inter-district road communications were snapped as no inter-district bus operated. Rail communications were also halted at various stations in Dhaka, Pakshi, Lalmonirhat, and Daulatpur.

Activities at the country's premier seaport were also hampered due to the blockade. Loading and unloading took place partially but delivery of cargoes remained suspended.


Around 50 people including policemen and journalists were injured during a four-hour clash that turned Baitul Aman Housing Society, PC Culture and Adabor areas in the capital into a big battle filed. The fighting erupted after police had charged batons and dispersed several hundred AL leaders and activists when they gathered in front of the house of a local AL leader and ward commissioner Abul Hashem Hashu on Road No 10 in Baitul Aman Housing Society around 10:00am. Police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at the demonstrators several hundred times. They also fired from shotguns adding fuel to the anger of the demonstrators. Police arrested 28 people from the spot during the clashes.

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