Thousands of protesters gathered in Dhaka on 10 December in a demonstration organized by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), calling for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down in favour of new elections under a caretaker government. Reports of intimidation and violence were noted, and two top BNP leaders and over 500 supporters were arrested. The protesters called attention to the cost-of-living crisis, corruption and the increasing suppression of dissent; triggered in part by recent clashes (and arrests) between BNP activists and leaders on 7 December which led to at least one death and 60 injured. Human rights activists have criticized the escalated repression of peaceful protests by Bangladeshi authorities given the past month's events.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is mobilizing against the ruling Awami League (AL) in preparation for the parliamentary elections next year. The BNP has held public rallies in response to the recent economic crisis in the country and has accused the AL government of election rigging and voter fraud in the last two general elections. As a response, there has been a significant increase in repression by the authorities over the past few weeks, who have arrested many political activists at these opposition-led rallies. This has raised concerns about a significant increase in the level of political violence and harassment, something that has marred previous electoral seasons. In August, BNP rallies were attacked in multiple districts, and local party offices and homes of BNP leaders were vandalized. These attacks, with the help of police in many cases, appear to be aimed at creating fear in the opposition camp.
Ahead of the 2023 parliamentary elections, violent clashes at political rallies have escalated amid Bangladesh's cost-of-living crisis. Bangladeshi authorities are accused of voter intimidation as well as carrying out mass arrests and raids of opposition supporters affiliated with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party - undermining their right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly. While questions remain as to the instigators of the violence, Human Rights Watch notes that those affiliated with the ruling Awami League "appear to have impunity" for attacks.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change will release a report based on his visit to Bangladesh from 4 to 15 September 2022, urging the Bangladeshi government to allow freedom of expression, particularly on issues relating to human rights and climate change. The report denotes statements of claims from environmental and human rights activists that have faced harassment and imprisonment in response to protesting new coal-fired power stations, among other climate-related developments. The controversial Digital Security Act is allegedly being used to suppress public opinion online, labelling activists as terrorists.