Bangladeshis unite for Martyrs Day

BANGLADESHI East Enders are gathering to remember those who laid down their lives to protect the Bengali language more than 50 years ago.

Martyrs Day will be marked on Sunday February 21 at Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel Road.

More than 1,000 people are expected to gather by monument Shaheed Minar to pay their respects at a midnight ceremony.

On the same day in 1952, dozens of students and political activists were killed when the Pakistani police force opened fire on protesters in Bangladesh.

They were marching to demand equal status for their native tongue, Bengali after the forces tried to impose minority language Urdu onto them.

The government of Pakistan eventually gave in and made Bengali a national language.

It is now recognised by the united Nations UNESCO as an International Mother Language.

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Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “This day is important as it reminds us of the sacrifices made by Bangladeshis for justice and equality.”

The park opens from 11pm on Saturday 20 February.

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