Defiant Zia accuses govt of turning B'desh into police state

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Dhaka, Jan 5: Bangladesh's besieged opposition leader Khaleda Zia today accused the ruling Awami League of turning the country into a "police state" and warned of "dire consequences" for confining her to her office.

"None can hang on to power for long in this way. The government wants blood and we want to bring back democracy in exchange of blood," 69-year-old Zia told reporters as police barred her from getting out of her Gulshan office here this afternoon.

Defiant Zia accuses govt of turning B'desh into police state

Zia has been locked in her office since Saturday after her party said it would hold protests across the country to mark the first anniversary of the January 5 poll which they termed as "farce". The former prime minister observed that there is no rule of law, good governance, human rights and democracy in the country. "The government has made the whole country a prison," she said.

"It seems to me that a war like situation is prevailing across the country," the Bangladesh Nationalist party chief said, adding that the ruling party is fully responsible turning the country into a "police state".

"This government has not only confined me, they turned the entire country into a jail...the movement against the illegal government will continue," the two-time former premier said. "Awami League has to face dire consequences," The Daily Star quoted Zia as saying.

Khaleda, who also head of the 20-party alliance, asked the government to sit across the table for a dialogue with a view to bringing back a peaceful political atmosphere in the country and to ensure people’s voting rights.

She said the countrymen want change through an inclusive general election but the government does not want to do so as it is afraid of election.

Earlier, she got into her car to leave her office to join an anti-government rally, but could not leave the office premises as police blocked all the gates. As the aggrieved BNP activists tried to force open the gate from inside, police used pepper spray on them.

Zia, after failing to get out of her office, called for an indefinite blockade of roads, railways and waterways across Bangladesh until further notice. 

PTI

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