Protestors Led by SUPRO Form “Human Chain” Demonstration to Press for Demands
Responding to JSAPMDD's call for a Global Week of Action Against Debt and IFIs, SUPRO organized two protest actions in October where demonstrators formed a "human chain" as they stood side by side and flashed streamers and placards bearing their demands.
The first demonstration, which was was held at Shahbag, Dhaka on October 12, called for the achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), unconditional development aid, debt cancellation, participation in business and development and non-intervention of the World Bank and the IMF in development policy.
Among others, the protestors also demanded that: 0.7% of developed countries' national income be appropriated for unconditional development aid; no role for the World Bank in the management of climate funds; no quota and taxes for Bangladeshi products, especially garments, to the markets of developed countries; and, employment opportunities for Bangladeshi laborers.
The mobilization was supported by the Dhaka Campaign Group. Among those who spoke during the rally were Kazi Shafiqur Rahman, Saif Uddin Ahmed, Farhana Akter, Unnoti Rani, Bilkis Akter and Airfur Rahman.
SUPRO organized another "human chain" demonstration and a street theater show on October 17 at Shahbag, Dhaka not only as part of the Global Week vs. Debt and IFIs but also in observance of the International Day of Poverty Eradication.
The speakers of the rally emphasized that poor people are living in miserable conditions as they continuously grapple with climate change, adverse situations and increases in the prices of commodities. They called for sustainable and inclusive development as a way out the crises that hound the poor. They said people's rights must be respected, their needs addressed and their participation in decision making processes and initiatives ensured.
Speakers also criticized the "neoliberal economy" formulated in the 1980s according to the prescription of the World Bank and IMF's "Washington consensus". They said because of this, a Structural Adjustment Program is being implemented in their country promoting privatization, commercialization and market liberalization. These result to reduced government support for food, education and health while encouraging private sector profit, poverty and deprivation.