(Dhaka 12-05) 50 days of nationwide strikes and blockades have been called by the 18 opposition parties in Bangladesh during 2013, disrupting plans for an election January 5 which they will boycott. In a photo from Dhaka's daily newspaper we see firefighters extinguishing a bus set ablaze during a recent 72 hour nationwide blockade. The opposition claims the ruling Awami League has created an environment of terror that will make a fair election impossible. Awami has lost some of their closest allies, who have joined with the opposition to demand that power be transfered to a non-partisan interim government to oversee the election.
Organizations representing HIndu, Christian and Buddhist groups will form a human chain in front of the Press Club tomorrow to protest the inadequate protection of religious minorities, which has worsened as the election approaches.
A successful boycott of the election could render it null and void, since Bengali law requires a 50% turnout or the election must be conducted again within 90 days, as was the case in 1996.
On the day before the nationwide blockade, workers burned down a large garment factory 25 miles from the capital. The immediate cause cited was the death of a worker by police gunfire, but enmity toward sweatshop owners has been growing during the past several years as factory deaths took a record toll of lives. Buzzfeed reports that 6 months of supplies for US retailers were destroyed, with costs of over US$100,000,000 and 18,000 workers will be without jobs.
IndyRadio asks: what did they do before the sweatshops moved in? Is there such a thing as a local economy? 18,000 souls will need one right away.
NEW AGE reports from Dhaka:
"AQM Badruddoza Chowudhury, former president of Bangladesh, on Wednesday said that the country was now on the verge of a civil war. Indicating the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, he said, ‘You are responsible for all the deaths and crisis... The state and the democracy are not secure under this government," while addressing a rally at National Press Club auditorium.
Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalist faction president Ruhul Amin Gazi accused the prime minister of killing 42 people in the last seven days. Bangladesh Bar Council vice-chairman Khandaker Mahbub Hossain said that the ruling Awami League was responsible for the arson attack on vehicles, while the prime minister was crying crocodile tears for the arson victims."(the opposition claims a "burning of the Reichstag" by the ruling Awami party)