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Published on : Wednesday, December 4, 2013
A travel alert has been issued by the United States for US citizens living and travelling to Bangladesh with regards to the protests taking place in the country due to the general elections to be held on January 5.
The U.S. State Department issuing the alert has said that the alert expires on January 7, 2014. Until that time citizen travelling to or living in Bangladesh have been told to apply caution.
Travelling to Bangladesh during election time has always been difficult as there is much of political unrest triggered by the two main political parties. The political dispute centers on disagreements regarding the structure for holding national elections scheduled for January 5, 2014.
The U.S. Advisory said that the U.S. citizens must remain alert to local security developments and they have asked to remain vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and other places to relocate to feel secure.
U.S. citizens have not been targeted by any of the protestors however, in isolated instances, westerners and US citizens have been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations or stranded when highways have been blocked. But the U.S. citizens have been asked to be vigilant as far as their own safety is concerned.
The Bangladeshi citizens articulate their political demands by hartal (general strike), this process of a general shutdown they feel acts as an effective way to assert their opinion. However peaceful demonstrations can at times trigger violence and often result to clashes between the police and protestors causing immense damage to people and property.
Roads, railway, highway have been completely blocked. Demonstrators have thrown stones, debris, and petrol bombs and homemade explosives and firearms have been used. There has been a usage of tear gas to control the protests by the police. These demonstrations triggered off ever since the election commissioner announced the election date of January 5.
The opposition party of Bangladesh wants the present Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign and make way for a neutral caretaker government ahead of the elections.