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Bangladesh Protests and Demonstrations

April 18, 2003: A meeting was organized in protest against the United States-led war on Iraq by the four-party left-wing front, the Jatiya Gana, in Dhaka. Speaking at the meeting the leaders of the front condemned the killing of 12 Iraqis and injuring hundreds of others by US troops in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul. They demanded the immediate withdrawal of US-British occupation forces from Iraq. The leaders also expressed concern at the US threat wielding a threat to Syria accusing it of being in possession of weapons of mass destruction.

Separately, activists of the Bangladesh Mahila Awami League offered special prayers in Dhaka asking for the salvation of Iraqis killed during American bombings in Iraq.

Besides, the Bangladesh Mahila Samity formed a human chain on its office premises, Baily Road, Dhaka, demanding immediate the withdrawal of US-British forces from Iraq.

April 12, 2003: On the 23rd day of the United States-led war in Iraq, people from various walks of life took part in processions and protests against the war.

The ruling-Bangladesh National Party (BNP) organised a procession that began at its office in Naya Paltan, while its coalition partner, the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami, held a separate rally near Baitul Mokarram Mosque. The Opposition Awami League organised a peace rally in Bangabandhu Avenue.

Besides, Left-wing parties such as the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Workers' Party of Bangladesh, Socialist Party of Bangladesh and Jatiya Samjtantrik Dal (JSD) conducted demonstrations at the Paltan intersection, protesting the war in Iraq.

Various professional bodies, too, organized protests. Prominent among them were the Engineers' Institute of Bangladesh, Institute of Diploma Engineers, Sammilito Ainjibi Samannoy Parishad, Oikya Prochesta, Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association, National Press Club, Sammilito Sangskritik Jote, Development Centre International, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA).

Some other groups, too, organised protests against the US war in Iraq. These groups included the Jatiya Gono Protirodh Andolon, Sylhet Bibhag Unnoyon Sangram Parishad, Khelafot Andolon, Ganotantrik Majdur Party, Bangladesh Krishok Sramik Mukti Andolon, Samajtantrik Chhatra Front, Chhatra Majlish, Communist Union, World People's Resitance Movement, Bangladesh Human Rights Monitoring and Development Organisation, Citizens' Society Against Imperialism-Aggression and Looting.

Further, the activists of the Tahfuz-e-Din Islam Sangstha brought out a procession in which its cadres displayed swords.

Separately, an estimated 3,000 people left for Dhaka from Sylhet on April 12, under the aegis of Hazrat Shahjalal Jehadi Kafela, to organise a protest against the war in front of the US Embassy.

April 9, 2003: The Jatiya Janata Party organized a protest rally against the United States-led war in Iraq. Party cadres formed a human chain in front of the United Nations' Dhaka office. Later, they submitted a memorandum, to be forwarded to the UN General Secretary, protesting mass killings and the failure of the UN to play its due role.

Separately, Sahara Khatun, president of the Bangladesh Awami Ainjibi Parishad, at a meeting called upon the coalition forces to stop killing civilians. Phulkuri Asar, a national children's organisation, held a rally in front of the national press club and formed a human chain protesting deaths of children in the war.

Condemning the war against Iraq, the Institute of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh, demanded an immediate respite to the Iraqis from the critical situation. The Anti-War Movement also brought out a processions condemning the war against Iraq.

Further, a procession was by the Bangladesh Chhatra Federation (BCF), a left-leaning student organisation, on Dhaka University campus, which converted into a rally near the Aporajeyo Bangla in the university. Condemning the US-led attack on Iraq, speakers criticised the US-led war on Iraq as 'unethical' and demanded an immediate end to the invasion.

April 8, 2003: The Institute of Democratic Rights organized a discussion on the 'United Nations, International Law and Human Rights" at the National Press Club where speakers strongly criticised the US and the UK for waging, what they termed, an 'unethical war on Iraq'. Later, a protest procession was taken out from the Club and ended at Muktangon. The protestors demanded the immediate halt of the war on Iraq.

Separately, the Department of Theatre and Music, Dhaka University, staged a play titled "Bush! Blood! Blair!" protesting against the war on Iraq.

Also, the National NGO Coordination Committee, at a meeting held at the BRAC Centre, expressed concern over the increasing number of civilian casualties in Iraq. Committee members urged the US and Britain to stop the war immediately.

Further, the Ganotantrik Biplobi Jote, Bangladesh Chhatra Federation and the Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, too, organised meeting and protests against the war on Iraq and demanded that the war be stopped imeediately.

April 7, 2003: Protests against the war in Iraq continued for the 18th day in the national capital Dhaka. The Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and Chalachchitra League jointly organized a rally in front of the Awami League's central office in protest against the war on Iraq. Speaking at the rally, Awami League joint general secretary and former Minister of State Obaidul Quader said the imposition of war on Iraq by US-British imperialist forces is a shameful chapter in the history of mankind. He demanded an immediate end to the war.

Separately, the Bangladesh Christian Association took-out an anti-war procession from Tejgaon Church Community Centre to Parliament demanding halting the war on Iraq immediately. Association president and lawyer Promod Mankin, senior vice president Hubert Gomes and Secretary General Nirmal Rozario led the procession.

Besides, the Darus Sunnah Islamia Complex, Dhaka, organised a discussion on 'The Anglo-American aggression against Iraq and the Responsibility of Muslims' at national Press Club.

Also, the Fine Arts Institute of Dhaka University brought out an anti-war procession on the campus against the US-led attack on Iraq. The demonstrators marched on the streets of University with placards, banners, festoons and cartoons of Bush and Blair.

April 6, 2003: Anti-war demonstrations continued across Bangladesh for the 18th consecutive day, protesting the United States-led war in Iraq. Rallies and processions were organised by various political parties, religious organisations and other bodies.

The Bangladesh Khelafat Jubo Andolon organized an anti-war rally outside the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque, in Dhaka. Speaking at the rally leaders welcomed the decision of the Government to send humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq. They also hoped that the Government would make the necessary arrangements for those willing to take part in the Jihad (holy war) against the US-led forces and to defend Iraq. Ahead of the rally, 1430 activists registered their names to take part in Jihad in Iraq.

The Bangladesh Mahila Awami League, the women's front of the main opposition Awami League, organised an anti-war rally at the party's central office led by president Begum Ivy Rahman. Later, a procession passed through Bangabandhu Avenue and Nur Hossain Square during which angry demonstrators set ablaze an effigy of US President George W Bush.

In Chittagong, a protest rally was organized by city Mayor ABM Mohiuddin Chowdhury in which more than 50,000 people participated. After the rally, the Mayor and several religious leaders marched at the head of a huge procession stretching over a kilometer in length. The procession marched through the city's streets chanting anti-war and anti-American slogans. The rally adopted a declaration urging the people to continue to hoist black flags atop buildings and houses for a week to protest the killing of civilians by the coalition forces in Iraq. The declaration also called for the trial of US President Bush and British Premier Blair by an International War Tribunal and the cancellation of the UN membership of US and UK for violating the UN Charter.

April 2, 2003: Leaders of the Dhaka University Teacher's Association issued a statement condemning the US aggression on Iraq. They demanded the immediate withdrawal of American and British coalition forces from Iraq, and called for trying U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as war criminals. They also alleged that the Western media was biased and was indulging into propaganda campaign.

Separately, the Bangladesh Hawkers Federation urged people to assist Iraq while the US has launched an illegal aggression on that country. At a mock trial, they sentenced Bush and Blair to death and burnt down their effigies.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Bangladesh Medical Association demanded an immediate end to the war on Iraq, which was claiming the lives of many innocent non-combatants, including women and children. They also demanded the trial of Bush and Blair as war criminals by the International Court of Justice.

Leaders of the Islami Oikkya Andolon urged the Muslim community to close ranks to fight the Anglo-American coalition forces. Also, the Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal renewed its call for boycotting British and American products. Members expressed the hope that valiant Iraqi fighters would defeat the ‘invaders’.

Separately, the Bangladesh Awami Sangskritic Forum formed a human chain and staged a rally demanding the immediate halt of the war. Activists of the Forum also torched the effigies of Bush and Blair. In another protest, the Ganosanghati Andalon organised a campaign in which cadres rendered anti-war songs highlighting the message of peace and humanity. Also, demanding the immediate halt to the Western aggression, leaders of the Bangladesh Islami Chhatra Shibir said people of the world should try Bush and Blair as war criminals for killing innocent Iraqi people. They also urged people to express solidarity with the Iraqis against the US-led aggression.

Other organizations to demand the immediate end of war included the Platform against Imperialist US War on Iraq, Muktijoddyha Paribar Kalyan Sangsad, Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Gosthi, the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Kendrio Khelaghar Asar, United Federation of Garment Tailors' Workers and the Jatiya Committee of Bangladesh against Aggression and Plunder.

April 1, 2003: A protest meeting was held by the Bangladesh Women's Awami League at its central office in Bangabandhu Avenue, Dhaka, against the United States-led war on Iraq. Speakers at the meeting expressed concern over the killing of innocent children and civilians in Iraq.

Separately, the Gonotantrik Biplobi Jote (Democratic Revolutionary Alliance) held two street-corner meetings and a protest procession. Also, the Dhaka University Ekushey Pathchacro arranged a seminar titled ' Iraq; Aggression, Not War'.

March 31, 2003: In a protest meeting held in Dhaka University to oppose the United States-led war on Iraq, US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were 'sentenced to death' in a mock trial. They were 'charged' with killing innocent men, women and children and causing destruction in Iraq through aggression.

At a rally organized in the National Baitul Mukarram Mosque, in the national capital Dhaka, Jatiyatabadi Ulema Dal (JUD) protestors demanded another United Nation for Muslims at which the community could seek assistance. They declared that the existing United Nations failed to meet the demands of the Muslim world and could not restrain the US and Britain from launching the aggression on Iraq.

Condemning the US-led aggression, JUD Central Convener Moulana Nazibul Basher Maizbhandari urged the UN to immediately initiate steps to halt the aggression on Iraq, if it did not want to be held responsible for the massive destruction in Iraq.He also asked the US to immediately halt its 'illegal joint attack' on Iraq.

Separately, the Samrajjyabirodhi Mancho (Anti Imperialist Front) organised an anti-war rally in Dhaka and urged the people to shun American and British commodities to protest the 'illegal' attack on Iraq.

Another group, The Anti War Movement also brought out a protest rally at Muktangon. Police stopped the marchers near Chowdhurypara in Malibagh area of Dhaka, and prevented them from heading towards the US Embassy to lay siege to it.

Several other groups, too, demanded immediate halting of the war. Thse included the Palestine Repatriated Muktijoddah Sangsad, Shahid Nur Hossain Sangsad and Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon.

March 30, 2003: Teachers, students and employees of Jahangirnagar University (JU) participated in a protest demonstration organised on the University's campus condemning the US-UK invasion of Iraq. The procession marched through the campus raising slogans like, "Bush and Blair, enemy of peace," "Stop Bush, save humanity" "No war for oil", stop genocide in Iraq". A public meeting followed the procession. Speakers said that war meant disabled children and destruction of civilisation. They demanded an immediate end to the war on Iraq and expressed deep sympathy with the Iraqis.

Separately, the National Committee for Preventing Aggression, in a statement in Dhaka, accused the USA of violating the charter of the UN and the human rights of Iraqi people. The Committee urged Muslim countries to oppose the war on Iraq and take a bold position, as was done by France, Russia, Germany, China and Malaysia.

Also, Bangladesh National Council of Textile Garments, as well as leather workers, at a workshop held in Dhaka demanded that the US-led war on Iraq be stopped immediately as scores of children were being killed in the war.

March 28, 2003: Protests against the United States-led war against Iraq continued in the country, but were limited to the national capital Dhaka. Separate demonstrations were held at the Baitul Mokarram National Mosque, Paltan Maidan, Purana Paltan crossing, High Court crossing and in other party of thecity. The protestors came out in large numbers after Friday prayers carrying banners and placards inscribed with anti-American and anti-British slogans.

After Friday prayers, at Baitul Mokarram, the religious leader of the Mosque asked the people to boycott American and British products, as a mark of protest against the invasion of Iraq. He also demanded of the UN to adopt a resolution on the war on Iraq, and initiate measures to stop the aggression immediately.

The biggest rally in the city was organised by the Islamic Constitution Movement, commencing at Paltan Maidan. Led by Shaikhul Hadith Allama Azizul Huq, about 10,000 people from across the country participated in the march.

The organisations which organises protests against the war included Bangladesh Nezam-e-Islami Party, Islamic Constitution Movement, Bangladesh Jamiyate Talabaye Arabia, Hizb ut Tahir, Islami Oikya Andolon, Ganotantrik Biplobi Jote, Dewanbagh Sharif, Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon, Bangladesh Khelafat Student Movement, Ittehadul Muslimin, National Garments Federation, National Democratic Front.

March 27, 2003: Leaders of Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) at a meeting in Muktangan, Dhaka, criticized the US and British governments for launching aggression against Iraq. They requested the Government to convene a special session of Parliament and urged the aggressors to stop the war immediately and save lives.

Another political party, the Bhasani Front, at a meeting condemned the war on Iraq and urged all peace-loving people of the world to make concerted efforts to halt the war immediately.

Separately, 30 teachers of Dhaka University in a joint statement said that the USA and the UK attacked Iraq with in order to gain control over the oil resources of Iraq, and not for disarming it of weapons of mass destruction. They condemned the US and the UK for disregarding international law and world public opinion.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, a women organisation, formed a human chain in front of the High Court in the capital Dhaka to protest the on-going war on Iraq. The protesters carried anti-war placards inscribed with different slogans expressing solidarity with the Iraqi people. They also demanded an immediate halt to the bloodshed in Iraq.

Bangladesh Chhatra League, the student wing of the opposition Awami League, organised a protest march on Dhaka University campus condemning the US-UK aggression on Iraq and demanding its immediate cessation.

March 25, 2003: At a rally organized in Muktangon, Dhaka, by the Samrajjybadi Juddha Birodhi Nagorik Samaj (Citizens' Society Against Imperial War), speakers said the main political parties in the country were acting as agents of 'Imperialist America', for failing to condemn the United States-led war on Iraq. Reminding the US of the consequences of Vietnam War, they urged the Bangladesh Government to close the US Embassy in the country. Speaking at the rally, the Society's convener, Engineer Sheikh Mohammed Shahidullah, condemned the US-led aggression on Iraq.

He also asked the US to immediately halt its 'illegal joint attack' on Iraq. The youth wing of the Opposition Awami League took out an anti-war procession in Dhaka from the party's central office in Bangabandhu Avenue. The Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) members also formed a human chain protesting the US-led attack on Iraq on the premises of the Jatiya Press Club.

Separately, at a "citizens' meeting" convened by Dr Kamal Hossain, several renowned academics, economists, lawyers and media professionals, said the attack has thrown a major challenge to the international system and international law, which they said were the principal safeguards for countries like Bangladesh. A majority of the speakers opined that an emergency session of the Parliament should be convened to chalk out strategies to face the impact of the war on Bangladesh and asked the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP) and the opposition Awami League to jointly oppose the aggression on Iraq.

March 24, 2003: At a meeting of the executive committee of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), speakers condemned the United States-led war against Iraq. The DRU also expressed concern at the killing and missing of journalists covering the war.

The Anti-Imperialism Civil Society organized a press conference in the national capital Dhaka and urged the people to boycott American and British goods. The Society asked the US and the UK to immediately stop the war. It also suggested to the Government to condemn the imperialist war that did not have the approval of the UN, and hence violative of the UN charter. The Society urged the government to declare the American Ambassador in Dhaka as persona non-grata for intervening in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, cancel all unequal agreements signed with multinational companies representing the imperialist forces, and take the initiative to form a united peace coalition with all anti-war countries.

Separately, the president of the Bangladesh Democratic Party, Nazim Habib-uz Zaman urged the American people to prevent the US Congress from providing President Bush with the budget to wage the war.

March 23, 2003 The Bangladesh Supreme Court Bar Association organised an anti-war procession that commenced from the Supreme Court premises in Dhaka. Separately, anti-war writers, artists, cultural and political activists held a rally at the central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka to protest the US attack on Iraq. The Dhaka unit of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party, led a procession against the US attacks from the Baitul Mukarram North gate. Meanwhile, the Islami Ain Bastabayan Parishad (Council for Implementation of Islamic Law) led by Shaikhul Hadis Maulana Azizul Haque held a black flag demonstration at the Baitul Mukarram North gate and brought out a procession from there protesting US aggression on Iraq. Oikya Procheshta, an alliance of left-leaning political parties, held a rally Topkhana Road.

The National Unity Against Imperialism (NUAI) and Ganotantrik Biplobi Jote jointly organised a rally at Bahadur Shah Park. Among others, Jote leader Faizul Hakim and NUAI leader Shamsul Haque Sayem spoke at the rally. They urged the people to resist the policies of imperialist forces led by the USA. They urged the people to boycott US goods and demanded the closure of the American and British embassies in Bangladesh.

President of Jatiya Ainjibi Forum, Sheikh Akhterul Islam and general secretary Ruhul Amin Patwari, in a joint statement, condemned the "unjust and illegal" attack by the US-British joint forces on Iraq. They demanded the immediate halt of war showing respect to world public opinion. They said the US Administration has grossly violated human rights as well as international agreements in Iraq. They expressed sympathy and solidarity with the innocent and peace-loving people of Iraq.

March 21, 2003: At a protest rally organised by the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) in Dhaka against the US-led attack on Iraq, speakers said the US aggression is an attack on all peace loving and independent nations. US imperialism has to be resisted, they said. The Committee for Preparation of Rally and Procession Against War in a statement said the people of Bangladesh are with the peoples of the world against the 'unjust war'. Among others, Bangladesh Jatiya Dal, Hak Kothar Mancha, Gonotantritik Biplobi Jote, Jatiya Gono Front, Biplobi Oykko Front, Gonotantrik Majdur Party, Gonosanghati Andolon and Bangladesh Krishak Sramink Andolon also supported the protest rally.

Meanwhile, a large anti-war rally was reportedly organised by the Islamic Law Implementation Committee at Paltan Maidan, in the capital Dhaka. The chief priest of Baitul Mokarram National Mosque in Dhaka, Maulana Obaidul Haq, Mufti Fazlul Haq Amini and other religious leaders of the country attended the rally and. According to media reports, people joined the protests by bringing out processions from different parts of the city. The protestors chanted anti-American slogans and urged the world community to resist US President George W Bush in order to protect humanity and the oil resources of Iraq. "The US will occupy all the oil-rich middle east and Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, gradually", said Maulana Obaidul Haq while addressing the rally. Mufti Fazlul Haq Amini, organiser of the rally and a leader of the Islamic Oikya Jote, a member of the Ruling four-party alliance, criticised the US for attacking Iraq and urged American forces to retreat for the sake of protecting humanity from the horrors of war.

Compiled from English language media sources from Bangladesh






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