Shop owners and businesspeople operating in the capital's Gulistan area staged a protest by blocking roads on Wednesday morning, demanding that they be allowed to keep shops open maintaining hygiene rules during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Meanwhile, shop owners and workers of various markets in Nilkhet, New Market, Elephant Road, and Dhanmondi areas did not hold any protest. They took position in front of their respective markets in the morning.
They warned that they would go for a tough movement if market owners did not make a positive decision after a meeting with the commerce ministry by Thursday.
"The shop owners' association assured us that shops would be allowed to remain open on the first day of the lockdown but that did not happen even on the third day," said Abu Jaher, a cloth shop owner in Chandni Chowk.
"If the permission on keeping shops open is not announced by tomorrow, we will protest by lying down on the street until the announcement comes," he added.
Nizam Uddin, president of Chandni Chowk Shop Owners' Association, said, "Around 100 shop owners' associations across Dhaka city decided to hold a meeting with the commerce ministry to reopen shops on Thursday."
He said he hoped the government would make a positive decision considering the suffering of shop owners.
During the protest in Gulistan, Anwar Hossain, a trader at Dhaka Trade Centre, said, "We have not been able to overcome the losses of last year."
He noted that businessmen were eyeing the upcoming Ramadan and Eid to make up for the losses.
Another trader Azhar Uddin said, "We are ready to follow the health rules announced by the government in our markets. Our demand is to allow us to keep our shops open till a certain time of the day."
Abu Farhan Khan, a shoe trader, said there are about 5,000 shops in Gulistan.
"About 20,000 people depend on the businesses for their livelihoods. Due to the lockdown, their livelihoods are in danger," he added.
Farhan and other shopkeepers demanded that the government allow them to keep markets open from 8am to 4pm.
Police later dispersed the crowd that gathered near the flyover and on the roads at important points in Gulistan.
Starting on Monday, the government declared a seven-day lockdown in the country to curb the new surge in Covid-19 infections.