Unarmed students killed and hundreds injured as road safety protests spread in Bangladesh

Students help a youth who was attacked by pro-regime thugs in Dhaka, Bangladesh. [Credit: Turjoy Chowdhury/NurPhoto]

Hundreds of unarmed demonstrators have been injured and scores have been killed in Bangladesh as student protests over road safety regulations bring Dhaka and other major cities across the country to a standstill.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged students to go home as police fired teargas and rubber bullets during the ninth day of protests.

Tens of thousands of students brought parts of Dhaka to a halt after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus.

The demonstrations spread like wildfire beyond the capital city as the Hasina regime shut down mobile internet services across large swathes of the country, officials and local media said.

At least 100 people were injured in Dhaka’s Jigatala neighbourhood on Saturday as police fired rubber bullets at unarmed protestors.

At least 20 deaths have been reported in local media.

The violence continued yesterday with police firing teargas at a large group of unarmed protestors who were marching towards an office belonging to the ruling Awami League party.

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PM Hasina claimed yesterday that a “third party” could sabotage the demonstrations and put the safety of protestors at risk.

She said from her office: “That’s why I request all guardians and parents to keep their children at home. Whatever they have done is enough.”

Hundreds of youngsters across the country have been hospitalised during the weekend after being attacked by pro-regime thugs, witnesses said.

The prime minister’s warning came as demonstrators marched towards the scene of Saturday’s clashes chanting, “We want justice!”

Bangladeshi police have denied firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters.

However, hospital staff across Bangladesh have said that that they have treated hundreds of protestors that appear to have been seriously injured by rubber bullets.

The Awami League has denied allegations that its officials and activists attacked students.

The country’s biggest newspaper, Prothom Alo, said 3G and 4G internet services have been shut down since late on Saturday, shortly after the police and pro-regime thugs started attacking protestors.

Social media has been flooded with videos and images unarmed students being brutally attacked by police, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officers and Awami League gangs.

In addition to video footage and pictures, there have been thousands of comments from Bangladeshis online stating that that they were unable to access the internet via their phones.

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission are yet to issue a statement.

A senior telecoms official who wish to remain anonymous told 5Pillars: “The BTRC was ordered by the governments to slow down the internet.”

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