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Resistance, in silence

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Shahbagh youths march through capital to defy hartal

The daylong shutdown called by eight Islamist parties got little response Sunday with the masses joining anti-hartal demonstrations across the country following a call from Shahbagh activists.

Almost all business centres and offices went with their regular routine defying the hartal enforced by the recently formed group of eight Islamist parties protesting Friday’s “police action” and “anti-Islam” campaign of bloggers.

Backed by the main opposition BNP and its ally Jamaat-e-Islami, the hartal was however marked by the killing of four in Manikganj.

Protesting the killing, BNP will stage demonstration in the capital tomorrow and across the country on Thursday.

The shutdown also failed to generate response in any of seven divisional headquarter as local bus services remained unaffected. The operation of trains and other modes of transport was as usual.

Long-route bus services and most of the educational institutions, however, remained closed.

In the city, the anti-hartal demonstration started around 9:45am as the Projonmo Chattar reverberated with slogans all the daylong.

The youths of Projonmo Chattar on Saturday night called upon the people to say no to the hartal terming it “anti-people” and “anti-state” and a plot to save war criminals.

People of different professions and also school goers started gathering at Shahbagh Projonmo Chattar early in the morning.

A mass procession starting from Projonmo Chattar marched through Matsya Bhaban, Jatiya Press club, Purana Paltan and Dainik Bangla intersection and returned to Shahbagh the same way.

People regardless of religion, cast and creed, leaders and activists of different student fronts, commuters, pedestrians and office goers expressed their solidarity with the youths-led procession.

Meanwhile, pro-hartal activists set a human hauler ablaze in the city’s Jatrabari area in the morning. Around the same time, another group of pickets exploded handmade bombs at Janopath intersection. One of the bombs hit a pickup van of Rapid Action Battalion.

In Rajshahi, locals chased a group of Islami Chhatra Shibir men who had tried to torch a vehicle.

Demonstrators of Ekattur Mancho marched through different roads in Rajshahi with national flags. They chanted slogans demanding death penalty for war criminals and ban on Jamaat-Shibir.

In Rangpur, youths brought out a mass procession and paraded through the main streets in the city demanding ban on Jamaat-e-Islami and execution of war criminals.

Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu, mayor of Rangpur City Corporation, led another procession rejecting the hartal.

Anti-hartal processions were also brought out by people in Chandpur, Sylhet, Brahmanbaria, Noakhali and Joypurhat.

After the procession, the activists took position at the Shahbagh intersection like previous days and stayed there till night.

People from all walks of life gathered at the venue wholeheartedly to express solidarity with the protesters.

A mass signature campaign, which began on February 22, took place Sunday as well, with hundreds of people signing their names to express their support of the 6-point demand.

At 10:00pm Sunday, when the mass signature campaign ended for the night, as many as 80,000 people had already put their signatures.

The Shahbagh movement that started on February 5, hours after the Jamaat leader Quader Mollah was sentenced to life in prison for as passed its 20th consecutive day Sunday.

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