Student Resistance and Political Crackdown in Bangladesh: Inside the University of Dhaka

2024-01-06 17:22:33

Published on January 6, 2024 at 6:22 p.m. / Modified on January 6, 2024 at 7:14 p.m.

Armed with bombs and paintbrushes, Anamul Hasan Onoy, a 22-year-old student who looks like a teenager, slips through the dark and silent alleys of the University of Dhaka. On this campus of 37,000 students, a historic political hotbed, protest ideas are only expressed under cover of night. Sketched haphazardly on the walls of buildings, the graffiti reflect the last breath of student resistance. They are defying the unprecedented crackdown targeting critics and opponents of the Awami League, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party, in the run-up to the January 7 legislative vote. The Iron Lady of Bangladesh, who will seek her fourth consecutive term since 2009, is assured of victory as armed forces were deployed this week across the country.

On campus, graffiti expresses demands that we dare not express out loud. “We want free elections!” or, denouncing an attack on freedom of expression, “Down with the cybersecurity law!” are displayed, in red and black, on campus buildings. Here and there, “Free Palestine” slogans have been added to political messages, in this nation of 171 million inhabitants which is home to the third largest population of Muslims in the world. Most of the university’s wall inscriptions are the work of Anamul, which he signs from the “Students’ Union”, his left-wing activist organization.

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#Bangladesh #breath #student #resistance

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