“5 January is a dark day in the history of Bangladesh’s elections. Eight years ago, on this day in 2014, a unilateral, controversial, fraudulent, ridiculous and farcical election was held across the country without voters and opposition candidates. Awami League has humiliated itself all over the world by holding this much-talked-about election,” he said.

The BNP leader also said they will observe 5 January as a “democracy killing day” by staging human chain programmes in all metropolitan cities and district towns.

In Dhaka, he said, the BNP leaders and activists will form a human chain in front of the National Press Club at 10:30am.

Most registered political parties, including de facto opposition BNP, boycotted the 10th parliamentary election as it was held under a partisan government, annulling the caretaker government system following a court order.

However, then ruling Awami League and its political allies joined the election in which 153 MPs out of 300 seats got elected uncontested.

Referring to the 2014 elections, Rizvi said, Awami League broke its own stigmatised record in the 7 March 1973 national election through the 5 January polls. “Polling stations across the country were completely empty in the 5 January election. The global community has seen four-legged animals roaming in the voting centres instead of voters.”

He further said Awami League has also snatched people’s voting rights the night before the 11th parliamentary-election day on 30 December 2018. “The election commission and law enforcement agencies have kept this government in power by stuffing ballots in the night before the voting day.”

The BNP leader alleged that democracy is now in exile while freedom of speech and press freedom has been snatched by the government.

He said one person’s rule has been established in the country by “destroying the rule of law and judiciary”.

Criticising the government for what he said were its efforts to obstruct BNP’s rallies at different parts of the country by imposing restrictions, Rizvi said people have started taking to the streets breaking section 144. “Wherever the BNP is holding rallies, people are joining there creating a mass wave. People are waking up against misrule.”

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