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27 Jan 2020 | 09:36 AM UTC

Bangladesh: Government bans motorcycles, rickshaws, and taxis in Dhaka around February 1 elections /update 2

Government bans motorcycles, rickshaws, and taxis in Dhaka ahead of February 1 election period; heightened security presence and associated demonstrations expected over the near term

security
transportation
BGD

Event

The Bangladeshi government has issued a ban on passenger vehicles around the upcoming municipal elections in Dhaka, slated for Saturday, February 1. The ban includes motorcycles, auto-rickshaws, taxicabs, microbuses, jeeps, pickups, buses, trucks, and other passenger vehicles, effective between 00:00 (local time) on Friday, January 31, and 18:00 on Sunday, February 2.

Authorities say that exceptions to the ban may be made for candidates and their agents, election observers with valid ID cards, private cars, vehicles transporting disabled persons, journalists with valid ID cards, and emergency service personnel.

Political rallies and protests are expected in the lead up to the elections and following the announcement of electoral results. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are to be anticipated near all such demonstrations.

Context

The elections were moved to February 1 following a series of student demonstrations protesting the original date, January 30, which fell on Saraswati Puja, a Hindu religious festival.

Previous elections in Bangladesh have been marred by violent clashes between protesters and security forces, including 17 deaths during the 2018 general elections.

Advice

Individuals in Dhaka are advised to monitor the situation, avoid public political demonstrations due to the risk of violence, anticipate localized transportation disruptions on and around election day (February 1), and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.