Tens of thousands of opposition workers and activists Sunday converged here amid tight security as part of the 14-party alliance's campaign to force the four-party alliance government of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to step down.
The 14-party alliance led by the country's major opposition Awami League (AL) has called for a "long march" from Feb. 2 from all parts of the country, which gathered in the capital on Sunday facing police obstruction and barricade laid by the ruling alliance workers in different places.
AL chief Sheikh Hasina, while addressing the rally in the capital on Sunday, asked Khaleda Zia government to step down as what she said people do not want to see anymore the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led four-party alliance government in power.
"Resign immediately as people do not want to see your corrupt and terrorist government no more in power," Hasina said, announcing a month long agitation program from the grand rally.
"Today's long march showed no-confidence of the people on the government. So, you retire," Hasina told Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
The month-long agitation program includes a countrywide whole day shut down on Feb. 15, demonstrations and grand rallies in different districts including one on March 1 at southeastern Chittagong and another one on March 6 in southern Barisal.
Hasina accused the government of creating obstruction of the long marchers in different places. She said police arrested 10,000 opposition workers and leaders during the last three days to foil the long march.
The Awami League chief criticized the government for high prices and Islamic terrorists. She also accused that the government totally failed to run the government and pushed the country's economy to the brink of collapse.
The government deployed 8,000 security personnel including troops of the anti-crime elite force Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
The government on Saturday through a press release said it would resist "lawfully" to protect the people's security and their property.
Private television channel ATN reported police fired rubber bullets in southern Bangladesh to disperse the marchers.
The government vowed action against anyone breaking the law and order.
Hasina, daughter of the country's founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, blamed the government for the rise of Islamic militants of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), who razed the country since Aug. 17 last year through bombing and suicide attacks, which killed 31 people and injured hundreds.
Hasina said without government cooperation, the militants would never be able to blast bombs and make suicide attacks.