A clash broke out between police and a group of protesters seeking demolition of sculptures yesterday after the demonstrators broke a police barricade in front of the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque and tried to bring out a procession.
The incident happened after the Dhaka Metropolitan Police had banned all kinds of processions and rallies in the city without their permission.
Around 400 people took position near the northern gate of the mosque in Paltan area and tried to march forward around 1:45pm after the Juma prayers. But they failed to do so as additional police personnel were deployed nearby. At one point, they started chanting slogans denouncing establishment of sculptures, and atheists.
A group of 200-300 protesters then came out of the gate, broke a police barricade and marched towards Paltan intersection chanting "nara-e-takbeer".
At this, police chased, baton-charged and disperse them, said Abu Bakar Siddique, officer-in-charge of Paltan Police Station, adding that the protesters threw brick chips at the law enforcers.
Earlier in the day, additional members of police were deployed in Paltan, Press Club, Bijoy Nagar, Kakrail and Shahbagh areas to avert any untoward situation.
After the Juma prayers on the last few Fridays, members of Islamist organisations, including Hefajat-e Islam, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Islami Andolon Bangladesh, took out processions from the mosque. Yesterday's demonstration was unannounced and was not brought out under any banner.
No causalities were reported.
No arrests were made either.
Muktijoddha Mancha, backed by Bangladesh Chhatra League, called a programme in front of the mosque yesterday, but it was later cancelled.
Hefajat and a few other Islamist organisations have been raising voice against setting up of sculptures in the country. They raised the voice after the government moved to build a sculpture of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the capital.
On Thursday, a group of clerics, mostly Hefajat leaders, came up with a "fatwa" declaring that sculptures or idols of any person or animals are forbidden in Islam.