US concerned about arrests and restrictions on rallies in Bangladesh
DOT Desk: The US has voiced concern about reports of police harassment, arrests of opposition party members, and restrictions on the ability to hold rallies in Bangladesh.
“We’re concerned about reports of intimidation and political violence in Bangladesh. We call on the government to respect and to protect the fundamental freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.” US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said at a briefing in Washington, reports TBS.
In response to a question, he urged all parties in Bangladesh to respect the rule of law and to refrain from violence, harassment and from intimidation as well.
“We call on the government of Bangladesh to ensure that no party or candidate threatens, incites, or conducts violence against another party or candidate,” he added.
He urged the government of Bangladesh to investigate reports of violence thoroughly, transparently, and impartially, and to hold the perpetrators to account.
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price also expressed concern about Digital Security Act, saying freedom of expression should never be criminalised.
“We have made our concerns about the DSA very clear. We have had frank and candid conversations with our Bangladeshi partners as well. Freedom of expression should never be criminalised. It should never be a source or a subject of duress or intimidation.” He added.
Earlier on Tuesday (6 December), Fifteen foreign missions in Bangladesh, including those of the USA, the UK, the EU and Japan, reaffirmed the importance of adhering commitment to peaceful assembly and free, fair, inclusive, electoral processes in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The United Kingdom government also has advised its citizens in Bangladesh to avoid all large gatherings, including political rallies to be held by the BNP on 10 December in Dhaka.
The BNP has been holding rallies in divisional cities since early October, highlighting several demands including poll-time caretaker government and release of the party Chairperson Khaleda Zia. The series of political programmes are scheduled to end with the Dhaka rally on 10 December.