Spate of protests in Bangladesh

This item appears on page 19 of the April 2017 issue.
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In Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, bus drivers and truckers began protesting in late February after a court passed a life sentence on a bus driver responsible for an accident in 2011 that left five people dead, including a filmmaker and a journalist.

On Feb. 28, hundreds of drivers held a strike at the country’s largest bus station and brought traffic to a halt. The next day, protests turned violent, vehicles were torched, and police fired riot guns and tear gas at the crowd. Several people were injured, and four officers were injured by a crude explosive device.

Also on Feb. 28, police used tear gas and a water cannon to break up a crowd of hundreds protesting a 22.7% increase in the price of gas. About 20 people were injured and about a dozen others, detained.

The first price increase was to start in March; a second increase was to begin in June but was postponed for six months. Many Bangladeshis use gas for not only fuel in vehicles but cooking and generating electricity.

Outside the supreme court in Dhaka in December 2016, authorities erected a statue of the goddess of justice, clad in a sari and holding a sword and scales. On Feb. 24, thousands of supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam, a conservative Islamist group, protested to demand its removal, arguing that statues and any kinds of idols are banned in Islam. Backers promised further protests if the statue was not removed.

Tensions have been growing in Bangladesh between Islamic conservatives and more moderate, secular groups in favor of free speech and pluralism.

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

In Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, bus drivers and truckers began protesting in late February after a court passed a life sentence on a bus driver responsible for an accident in 2011 that left five people dead, including a filmmaker and a journalist.

On Feb. 28, hundreds of drivers held a strike at the country’s largest bus station and brought traffic to a halt. The next day, protests turned violent, vehicles were torched, and police fired riot guns and tear gas at the crowd. Several people were injured, and four officers were injured by a crude explosive device.

Also on Feb. 28, police used tear gas and a water cannon to break up a crowd of hundreds protesting a 22.7% increase in the price of gas. About 20 people were injured and about a dozen others, detained.

The first price increase was to start in March; a second increase was to begin in June but was postponed for six months. Many Bangladeshis use gas for not only fuel in vehicles but cooking and generating electricity.

Outside the supreme court in Dhaka in December 2016, authorities erected a statue of the goddess of justice, clad in a sari and holding a sword and scales. On Feb. 24, thousands of supporters of Hefazat-e-Islam, a conservative Islamist group, protested to demand its removal, arguing that statues and any kinds of idols are banned in Islam. Backers promised further protests if the statue was not removed.

Tensions have been growing in Bangladesh between Islamic conservatives and more moderate, secular groups in favor of free speech and pluralism.