Nayapaltan now “sea of people”. Thousands of leaders and activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its associate bodies were seen gathering in front of the party’s Nayapaltan central office in Dhaka to attend the grand rally on Saturday to mount pressure on the government to accept their one-point demand.

BNP activists started gathering in front of the party’s Nayapaltan headquarters in the morning amid the presence of a huge number of law enforcers.

Defying the senior leaders’ instructions, several thousand opposition activists thronged Nayapaltan on Friday afternoon in advance and stayed there overnight.

Visiting the rally venue around 9:00am on Saturday, thousands of opposition activists were seen coming from different parts of the city.

Wearing colourful caps, carrying banners, festoons, placards and portraits of the party’s top leaders, they were shouting anti-government slogans as they converged on the venue.

The roads and alleys stretching from Kakrail to Arambagh are filled to the brim with BNP activists, halting traffic in the area.

Many leaders and activists of the party alleged that they had to face checking and barricades by law enforcers at the entry points and several locations in Dhaka while presence of buses on the streets was very thin.

BNP’s Dhaka north and south city units are organising the rally to press home the opposition’s one-point demand for holding the upcoming national election under a non-party government.

The rally is scheduled to formally begin at 2:00pm with BNP’s Dhaka south city unit convener Abdus Salam in the chair.

BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir will address the programme as the chief guest.

Apart from BNP, other like-minded political parties and alliances have also made preparations to arrange separate rallies in different parts of the city to press home the one-point demand.

The ruling Awami League is also scheduled to hold a rally in front of the south gate of Baitul Mukarram mosque, which is 1.7 km away from BNP’s rally at Nayapaltan.

After taking much time, Dhaka Metropolitan Police finally gave Awami League and BNP permission on Friday evening to hold their rallies in the capital’s Baitul Mukarram’s South Gate and Nayapaltan respectively on 20 conditions.

All eyes will be on BNP’s rally as speculations are there that the party may announce tougher programmes like marching towards important government offices or laying siege to these offices in the capital.

Alongside BNP, Ganatantra Mancha is scheduled to hold a rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club, while 12-party alliance at Bijoynagar, Jatiyatabadi Samomona Jote in front of Al Raji Complex at Purana Platan, Gonotantrik Bam Oikya in front of the Jatiya Press Club, Gonoforum and People’s Party at Arambagh, the Liberal Democratic Party at East Panthapath near FDC, Labour Party at Purana Platan, Gono Odhikar Parishad (Reza Kibria) at Culvert Road, Gono Odhikar Parishad (Nur) at Bijoynagar, AB Party at Bijoynagar, Sadharon Chhatra Odhikar Parishad at Shahbagh, Jatiyatabdai Peshajibi Parishad in front of the Jatiya Press Club and Nationalist Democratic Movement at Malibagh.

Earlier on October 18, BNP announced the grand rally in the capital for October 28 to start the ‘final phase’ of action and programmes of the ongoing movement against the current government.