Around 50 BNP activists were injured and many were arrested as police and Awami League activists attacked the party's sit-in programmes in several places across the country on Saturday.
In Rajshahi, a police baton-charge in a sit-in protest left at least 10 BNP activists injured, and in Khulna, 12 others were injured as opposition party members clashed with the law enforcement officials.
In Natore, a clash between Awami League and BNP supporters resulted in three Jubo Dal activists sustaining gunshot wounds, and at least 20 people were injured. Police resorted to firing blank shots to bring the situation under control.
Mizanur Rahman Minu, adviser to the BNP chairperson, claimed that more than 100 leaders and activists of the party were arrested and 30-40 people were injured in the police baton charge in Rajshahi.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the BNP have accused the government of unlawfully suppressing the media and voices of dissent in the country.
At a sit-in program organised on Saturday afternoon before the auditorium of the Engineers Institution in the capital, they accused the government of being involved in the killing and torture of opposition activists, forced disappearances, and the destruction of the country's economy.
Activists of the BNP and its affiliated organisations were seen participating in the event, holding placards demanding the release of the recently arrested Prothom Alo journalist Samsuzzaman Shams.
Speaking at the event, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir stated that the government had deceived the people to come to power. He added, "This government has no faith in democracy and does not value people's opinions. Their only objective is to remain in power."
He said, "The government will be defeated through the people's uprising and a people's government will be formed."
Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, standing committee member of the BNP, said, "Those who are in power today have destroyed the country's economy. If someone criticises the government, they react because they are not democratic."
Adviser to BNP Chairperson and convener of Dhaka Metropolitan BNP Abdus Salam, BNP leaders Mirza Abbas, Aman Ullah Aman, Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, and Aminul Haque were also present at the sit-in programme among others.
Apart from the BNP, Gono Odhikar Parishad, Jatiyatabadi Samamona Jote, Gonoforum and People's Party, Peshajibi Ganatantrik Jote, 12-party alliance, Labour Party, Bam Ganatantrik Oikya and LDP observed the programme separately in different areas of the capital.
However, Ganotantra Mancha, which has long been observing programmes simultaneously, did not take part in Saturday's demonstration.
The BNP organised sit-in programmes in several cities across the country, including Dhaka and Chattogram, to push for their 10-point demands including arranging the next election under a caretaker government.
Police-BNP confrontation in Rajshahi, Khulna
At least, 10 people were injured as police baton-charged the sit-in programme of the BNP in the Sagarpara area of Rajshahi city at around 3.30 pm Saturday. At the time, the police arrested several people, including the convener of the district BNP Abu Said Chand.
BNP Joint Secretary Harunur Rashid said, "Police unfairly assaulted our peaceful sit-in program and confiscated our banners."
Meanwhile, in Khulna, a clash between BNP activists and police resulted in several injuries. During the altercation, both parties chased each other, with police firing tear gas shells and rubber bullets while BNP activists threw bricks at police personnel.
The incident took place in front of the BNP party office on KD Ghosh Road in the city around 3.00 pm.
BNP leader Mizanur Rahman Milton claimed that at least 12 of their activists were injured in the incident while five activists were arrested.
BNP leaders also claimed that 16 party members were arrested in Khulna from different areas in the last 24 hours prior to the sit-in programme.
Al-BNP clash in Natore
In Natore, three Jubo Dal activists sustained gunshot wounds in a clash between activists of the Awami League and the BNP on Saturday afternoon.
The injured Jubo Dal activists are Kafuria union Jubo Dal Senior Vice President Shariful Islam Sharif and Jubo Dal activists Shaibal and Roni Bepari.
Around 20 people were also injured in the clash.
According to sources, the local BNP initiated a sit-in programme in front of their office in the Alaipur area of Natore at around 2:30 pm. Central BNP Organising Secretary Ruhul Quddus Dulu and district BNP Acting Convener Shahidul Islam Bachchu were present on the occasion.
Suddenly, Awami League leaders and activists attacked the programme, and BNP activists attempted to retaliate. Police fired blank shots to bring the situation under control.
Ruhul Quddus Dulu said that the attack was led by Awami League leader Shariful Islam Ramzan.
BNP Joint Secretary Harunur Rashid alleged that Awami League activists attacked them with brickbats while police were present. During the altercation, district BNP acting convener Shahidul Islam Bachchu and member secretary Rahim Newaz were among those beaten up.
He also stated that over 50 BNP activists were injured in the clash.
Meanwhile, BNP leaders and activists could not carry out the programme in Sylhet due to police action.