A cross section of people on Sunday demanded unconditional release and withdrawal of cases against acclaimed photographer Shahidul Alam and all the detained, who joined protests for safe roads and quota reform.
They also said the arrest of Shahidul Alam and others under the Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act reflected government’s autocratic implication to gag freedom of expression.
They said these while addressing a rally in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh under the banner of ‘Citizens Demanding True Democracy’ with a call for free democracy.
While addressing the rally, Bangladesh Chhatra Union’s central general secretary Liton Nandi said that the government was yet to take any action against ‘helmet-wearing-goons’ who attacked students and journalist even opened fire during the school children’s demonstrations for safe roads, but detained Shahidul Alam and other protesters.
Socialist Students’ Front general secretary Nasiruddin Prince said Shahidul Alam did not make any anti- national comments rather voiced support for the public demand of road safety but government shown its total autocratic attitude towards him and other protesters.
Bangladesh Students’ Federation’s president Golam Mostofa warned that the government would embrace same fate like other governments of the past, if it did not step aside from its move against democratic movements.
Cultural activists also performed protesting drama, song to press home the demands.
Shahidul Alam, 63, was detained by plainclothes police from his house on the night of August 5 hours after his interview to Al Jazeera about the student protests, which he documented and discussed on Facebook Live.
His arrest has drawn condemnation from local and international rights groups, professionals and intellectuals.
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