Bangladesh government illegal, must step down: Zia

Bangladesh`s main opposition party chief Khaleda Zia demanded resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after security forces prevented her from leaving her house to address a banned mass march.

PTI| Updated: Dec 29, 2013, 18:50 PM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s main opposition party chief Khaleda Zia on Sunday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, after security forces prevented her from leaving her house to address a banned mass march.

"This government is illegal; an undemocratic government. They should step down immediately if they have any grace left with them," the BNP chief and former premier said after over two hours of efforts to get out of her residence.

Zia came out of her car to address newsmen where she waited to leave for Naya Paltan, the venue for Bangladesh Nationalist Party`s "march for democracy".

The anti-government rally will continue tomorrow and even longer if required, she said with a national flag in her hand at her residence in upmarket Gulshan area where she has been confined.

She also challenged her archrival Hasina to prove her popularity in the field.

"This government is a shameless autocratic government... our programme will continue tomorrow and if required in the subsequent days," she said.

Zia also rebuked the policewomen who were cordoning her off for making noise.

The opposition leader then went back to her house after speaking to the press.

She was earlier seen negotiating with police officials who were blocking her way out.

"Why have you blocked me off?" a visibly angry Zia asked the official.
Eight platoons of police have been deployed in front of Zia`s residence since last night.

Police also barricaded the road near it by putting five sand-leaden trucks in the morning while a tug equipped with water cannon was also stationed there since this morning, the Daily Star reported.

Law enforcers stationed around the house were seen taking position in front of its main gate.

The BNP is boycotting the January 5 polls and has refused to field candidates, saying elections under Hasina will be rigged - an accusation the premier strongly rejects.

Political violence during nationwide strikes and blockades enforced by the opposition have left nearly 130 people dead and crippled the economy since November.