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19 Feb 2020 | 09:49 PM UTC

Bangladesh: Heightened security measures in Dhaka for International Mother Language Day February 20-21

Police implement increased security in Dhaka during International Mother Language Day celebrations on February 21; heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions expected



Police in Dhaka have announced several security measures from Thursday, February 20, through Friday, February 21, in the areas around Shaheed Minar due to International Mother Language Day celebrations on Friday. Officials plan to restrict pedestrian and vehicular access to the site, in addition to carrying out screenings. Individuals without special authorization will not be allowed access to Shaheed Minar between 20:00 (local time) on Thursday, and the early hours of Friday, until the prime minister, president, and other VIPs have visited the site. Police also announced road closures in the immediate vicinity of the monument. Additional CCTV cameras and watchtowers and specialised police and canine units will deploy to the area on Friday.

A heightened security presence and localized traffic disruptions are expected near the Shaheed Minar on Friday.


In 1952, Bengali students in East Pakistan protested against the Pakistani government's declaration of Urdu as the national language. Several students died in the protests, and are known as the Language Movement martyrs.

Bangladesh has been holding annual celebrations on February 21 after UNESCO declared the day as International Mother Language Day in 1999, following efforts from Bangladeshis (then East Pakistanis) to recognize the Bangla language. It is also referred to as Language Martyrs' Day.


Individuals in Dhaka, and in Bangladesh more generally, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate a heightened security presence and commercial and transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.