The constitution states, every citizen shall have the right to assemble peacefully and unarmed, and to participate in public meetings and processions, subject to reasonable restrictions. Demonstrations went peaceful in places where the police did not create blockage. All was okay. Then why the obstruction in other places? Democracy requires that the opposition be allowed to hold peaceful rallies.
It is a matter of concern that many of our policemen are eager to appease the ruling party. They forget that members of the law enforcement are employees of the republic. It is their responsibility to look after the security of all the citizens of the republic, not any party.
We demand an explanation from the policy makers of the government regarding the obstruction of the meetings and rallies of the opposition. They said that there was no obstacle for the opposition to hold peaceful rallies, but in reality they were obstructed in every step. It is not right to look at everything from a party viewpoint.
Those in power today had long been in opposition. At that time we supported their reasonable movement against the repression of the government and strongly criticised the repressive policy of the government at the time. The definition of democratic rights cannot change with the shift of power.
According to media reports, the police in some places have completely denied obstructing the BNP processions and rallies. However, news and pictures of their obstruction have been published in various media. Concerned policemen in many places admitted to obstruct the procession to avoid any ‘untoward situation’. It should be remembered that what may seem untoward to an overenthusiastic member of the law enforcement may not be untoward to the public.
Members of the law enforcement agencies must do whatever is necessary to establish peace. They cannot silence the peaceful protest of the opposition. It is expected that what the policy makers of the government say about holding rallies by the opposition will be reflected in the activities of the law enforcement agencies.