The BNP and like-minded opposition parties are set to enforce their next round of a 48-hour blockade, oborodh, covering road-rail-waterways across the country from Sunday morning. When these successive, almost daily or non-stop programmes - weekends and usually Tuesdays ommitted for some breathing space - started in early November, they were protesting the Election Commission's announcement of the schedule for the 12th general election.
They now encompass pressuring the government to quit, and to hold the next election under a non-party neutral government, the entire movement's holy grail. The release from police custody of party leaders and activists, including BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, also features prominently in their demands.
The blockade will begin at 6am on Sunday and end at 6m on Tuesday. It will be the ninth round of the blockade programme of the opposition parties since October 31.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing on Saturday night, BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called upon the country's people and the supporters of BNP and other opposition parties to observe the programme spontaneously to make it a success.
Vehicles of the newspapers or media, ambulances and vehicles transporting oxygen cylinders and medicines will remain out of the purview of the blockade.
Earlier on Thursday, Rizvi announced a fresh blockade programme around three hours before the end of the opposition’s day-long hartal - a change up to coincide with the EC's deadline for submitting nomination papers for said election - on the same grounds.
He said other opposition parties, who have long been carrying out the simultaneous movement with BNP, will also observe a similar programme.
The opposition parties observed blockades in eight phases to mount pressure on the Awami League government to quit power and hold the next election under a non-partisan administration.
They also observed a nationwide dawn-to-dusk hartal on October 29 in protest against the attacks on BNP’s grand rally at Nayapaltan that ended amid the incidents of torching vehicles and clashes, leaving three people dead.
Half an hour into the start of BNP's much-talked-about grand rally at Nayapaltan on October 28, BNP leaders and workers locked in a clash with the ruling party activists and police at Kakrail. The violent clashes soon spread around Nayapaltan, foiling the rally midway.