The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 28 October 2013

by TRG Alerts Admin on October 28, 2013

The Rendon Group Snapshot Report

(28OCT13)

Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.

Violent Protests in Bangladesh

 

Political tensions in Bangladesh have sparked violent nationwide protests. The problem began when opposition leader Khaleda Zia rejected PM Sheikh Hasina’s plan proposal for an all-party interim government, and called for a caretaker government to oversee voting in January. Zia’s supporters gathered in Dhaka, Chittagong, and other cities to demand the resignation of PM Hasina. Following bloody clashes with police, the opposition has called for a 60-hour hartal, or nationwide strike, in support for the non-party government plan. Zia has refused to call for an end to the strike, despite speaking with Hasina via telephone for the first time in over a decade on 27OCT.

 

News Summary of events relating to Bangladesh during the week of 21OCT-28OCT

  • On 21OCT, Bangladesh’s main opposition rejected PM Hasina’s proposal for an all-party interim government, and tabled a new formula for election oversight. (Xinhua)
  • On 24 OCT, paramilitary soldiers were deployed in Chittagong and elsewhere to thwart opposition plans to hold rallies. (Xinhua)
  • On 25OCT, over 100,000 opposition activists gathered in Dhaka to demand PM Hasina resign and order polls under a caretaker government. (AFP)
  • On 25OCT, five demonstrators were killed in rallies across the country, after police officers and border guards opened fire on protests. (AFP)
  • On 26OCT, PM Hasina planned to speak with opposition leader Khaleda Zia by telephone in an effort to diffuse the crisis. The conversation occurred on 27OCT. (AFP)
  • On 27OCT, at least two people were killed as opposition parties called a 60-hour strike to demand a non-party government to oversee the elections. (AP)

 

Sample of Twitter handles regarding the unrest in Bangladesh:

@rezwan: “Blogger, Social Media Enthusiast, Translator”

@rayanrashid: Human rights activist, lawyer, academic, blogger

@shah_farid: Academic, writer, online activist based in Dhaka

@mirahmad01: Practicing barrister at Supreme Court of Bangladesh

@Reshmi29: Independent filmmaker and film activist based in Dhaka

 

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding developments in Bangladesh:

Ali Riaz, Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars

“I am worried…I am concerned that it might turn out to be a violent situation in the coming days, precisely because the government and the opposition are not agreeing to do something that can be worked out.” – Power Rivalry paralyzes Bangladesh amid riot, Al Jazeera, 26OCT13

Mirza Hassan, Political Scientist, BRAC University

“If the AL goes to these polls unilaterally, there will be violence and then what will the army do?…One scenario is that they are forced to come in.”.” – Elections in jeopardy as Bangladesh parties head for showdown, Reuters, 20OCT13

Shantanu Majumder, Political Scientist, University of Dhaka

“The pro-secular forces are upset by the verdict of the court. Ghulam Azam is a symbol of anti-Bangladesh forces and collaborators who conspired against Bangladesh…It has gone against the expectation of the nation, which obtained independence through liberation war.” – Could Bangladesh protests upend the government?, Christian Science Monitor, 16JUL13

Kazi Akram Uddi Ahmed, President, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI)

“The hartal culture is destroying us.” … “”The problem is that no one wants to compromise… And we’re caught in the middle.” – Culture of Mass Strikes Suffocates Bangladesh’s Economy, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2013

Rodney Reed, Chairman, Reed Consulting

“It’s [hartal culture] enough to bankrupt a factory.” Culture of Mass Strikes Suffocates Bangladesh’s Economy, Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2013

 

Sample of open source research by TRG analysts related to the situation in Bangladesh:

1. Bangladesh deadlocks over interim government

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 21 October 2013

DHAKA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — Bangladesh’s main opposition has rejected Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s all-party interim government proposal and tabled a new formula for administration to oversee elections.

“She has blocked the road to credible elections and created the way to deprive the voting rights of the people,” Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Khaleda Zia told a press briefing in response to Hasina’s proposal.

In an apparent move to de-escalate tension between ruling and opposition parties, Hasina on Friday proposed an all-party government be set up to hold general elections in the South Asian country.

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2. Rallies banned, paramilitary soldiers deployed in Bangladesh

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 24 October 2013

DHAKA, Oct. 24 (Xinhua)– Paramilitary soldiers have been deployed in Bangladesh’s premier seaport city Chittagong and elsewhere in the country to thwart any untoward incident over the opposition’s plans to hold rallies defying police bans.

Border Guard Bangladesh(BGB, formerly known as BDR ) troops guard strategic points of Chittagong, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka.

Deputy Commissioner Masud-ul Hasan of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) told reporters that “BGB troops were out patrolling different areas of the seaport city since 11 a.m. Thursday.’

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3. One dead as 100,000 opposition supporters rally in Bangladesh

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 25 October 2013

DHAKA, Oct 25, 2013 (AFP) – More than 100,000 opposition activists rallied in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on Friday to demand that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quit and order polls under a caretaker government.

Police said an opposition activist was killed and several others were injured by bullets in the resort district of Cox’s Bazaar in southern Bangladesh after border guards opened fire at several thousand supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

“The border guards opened fire after the BNP activists defied a ban on rallies and attacked the forces,” Cox’s Bazaar district deputy police chief Babul Akter told AFP. “One person was killed and a few more were hit by bullets.”

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4. Five dead as 100,000 opposition supporters rally in Bangladesh

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 25 October 2013

DHAKA, Oct 25, 2013 (AFP) – Five demonstrators were killed across Bangladesh and more than 100,000 opposition activists rallied in the capital Dhaka on Friday to demand that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quit and order polls under a caretaker government.

Police said the protesters died after officers and border guards opened fire in three towns as the supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies rioted across the country.

Two protesters were killed and several others were injured by bullets in the southern resort district of Cox’s Bazaar when border guards opened fire at several thousand supporters of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

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5. Bangladesh PM, opposition leader to talk in bid to defuse crisis

Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Byline: N/A

Date: 26 October 2013

DHAKA, Oct 26, 2013 (AFP) –

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina plans to speak by telephone to opposition leader Khaleda Zia later on Saturday to try to defuse a crisis over forthcoming elections, an aide to the premier said.

“Both the leaders will talk” by telephone, Hasina’s aide Mahbubul Haque Shakil told AFP while Zia’s spokesman, Maruf Kamal Khan, confirmed the planned conversation.

Tensions rose in Bangladesh on Friday after supporters of Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies clashed with the ruling party and police in cities and towns across the nation, leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds injured.

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6. Two killed as opposition strike begins in Bangladesh

Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: N/A

Date: 27 October 2013

Dhaka (dpa) -At least two people were killed in Bangladesh Sunday as opposition parties called a 60-hour strike to demand a non-party government to oversee next year’s general elections.

An opposition activist was killed in clashes with police in Nagarkanda, 60 kilometres west of Dhaka, police officer Jamil Hasan said. Police fired teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the mob.

Pro-strike activists lynched a ruling party supporter in south-western district of Jessore, district police officer Abdus Salek Jessore said.

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