The Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) has called a nationwide half-day hartal for 25 August to protest against a record hike in fuel oil prices, sending already high prices of commodities soaring.
The leaders of the alliance comprising seven leftist political parties including the Communist Party of Bangladesh announced the general strike during a public meeting at Shahbagh in the capital on Tuesday.
They also threatened to launch tougher protest programmes if the prices are not reduced.
On 5 August, the government hiked fuel oil prices by up to 51% sparking price increases in everything from transportation to all commodities.
"If the excess prices are not reduced within 24 August, then a half-day strike will be observed across the country the following day," LDA Coordinator Professor Abdus Sattar issued the warning at the programme.
The alliance held the public meeting after police barred their procession march toward the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) protesting hikes in fuel oil and commodity prices.
Earlier, as part of a scheduled programme, LDA activists gathered at the Paltan intersection and called on the people to raise their voices against the increase in oil prices. Afterwards, they started the procession march toward the PMO.
The procession started from Paltan and passed through the Press Club and police stopped them as it tried to cross Shahbagh. After scuffles with police, the LDA activists took a position at Shahbagh and continued the protests.
During this time, LDA Coordinator Professor Abdus Sattar said, "The government cannot be saved by stopping the protesters. People have turned their faces from the government. The movement of the leftists never failed."
The LDA leaders said there was already high inflation and fuel price hikes have worsened it.
"The government has increased the price of urea fertiliser by Tk6 per kg. As a result, farmers have to buy fertiliser at Tk22 instead of Tk16 per kg. Due to this increased price of fertilisers, the price of agricultural products will go up," read a press release issued by the association.
They also demanded that the daily wages of tea garden workers be increased to Tk300 daily – from Tk120 at present.