Army deployed ahead of Bangladesh election amid boycott
Bangladesh deployed troops across the country on Wednesday, anticipating potential violence ahead of Sunday's national election, which the main opposition party is boycotting.
Soldiers, in armored vehicles, are stationed at temporary camps throughout the capital, Dhaka, to assist the civil administration in maintaining peace and security.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is boycotting the upcoming election after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declined their demands for her resignation and the appointment of a neutral authority to oversee the election.
Hasina has consistently accused the BNP of orchestrating anti-government protests that have engulfed Dhaka since late October, resulting in at least 10 deaths.
The military has stated it will intervene only upon requests from polling officers.
Additionally, the Navy is operational in two coastal districts, and the Air Force will provide helicopter support to remote, hilly polling stations.
Amid fears of renewed violence post-election, Dhaka residents express concerns for their safety and livelihood. Abdul Hamid, a 48-year-old rickshaw puller in Dhaka, shared, "I just want peace to earn a living for my family. The ongoing political turmoil makes our future uncertain."
Prime Minister Hasina, in power since 2009, faces accusations of authoritarianism, human rights violations, and suppressing free speech, including jailing critics.
Her primary opponent, BNP leader Khaleda Zia, faces what her party deems baseless corruption charges, rendering her under effective house arrest. Her son and BNP's acting chairman, Tarique Rahman, remains in exile, denying multiple charges against him.
Hasina's government faces international pressure from Western countries to ensure the election is free and fair.