Bangladesh Engulfed in Protest

The country of Bangladesh has been embroiled in protests following the deaths of two young schoolchildren who were struck by a speeding bus in Dhaka.

A teenage boy and girl were both struck and killed July 29 while walking with a group of other students in Dhaka.

In a country where more than 4,000 pedestrians died last year in traffic accidents, an incident like this normally would have gone unnoticed. Instead, it sparked what has become more than a week-long series of protests and demonstrations.

Tens of thousands of protesters, predominantly students, have been flooding the streets and effectively halting all activity in the nation’s capital.

Protesters have been stopping trucks and other vehicles, demanding to see licenses from the drivers, and inspecting the vehicles to determine if they are actually safe to be on the road.

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Some have blamed lax licensing procedures for the extremely high rate of road accidents.

The Bangladeshi government has come under fire for its handling of the protests with accusations of police brutality running rampant.

According to Al Jazeera, a group of female protesters were attacked by a group of men on motorcycles who proceeded to beat them in front of police, who did nothing to intervene.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said that multiple protesters have reported being sexually assaulted by anti-protester groups and individuals.

The violence has not been confined to the protesters, however.

Just yesterday, famed photographer Shahidul Alam was arrested by some 20 plainclothes officers following a Skype interview with TIME Magazine.

Alam has been charged with making “provocative comments.”

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According to a friend of Alam’s, when he appeared in court it looked as though he was struggling to walk, as though he had been beaten.

“We’ve been protesting on the roads for a few days with some of our demands. We’re demanding justice for those students of the Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College killed by a bus, and we want safe roads.”  — Nazmul Houssain on DemocracyNow!

Iron Triangle Press will continue to follow this story.

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