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Violence continues in Bangladesh capital as students protest

08 August 2018
Violence continues in Bangladesh capital as students protest

Amid the violence, armed men attacked a convoy of cars carrying the United States ambassador on Saturday night.

Ambassador Marcia Bernicat and her security team were able to get away unharmed, but two cars were damaged.

Protests in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka have raged since the 29th of July as young people have taken to the streets and blocked traffic as part of a drive to raise awareness of road safety issues throughout the nation.

Protesters maintain that ruling Awami League party members were involved in the crackdown.

The protests, which began last Sunday after two college students were struck and killed by a pair of buses, have paralysed Dhaka, a city of 10 million.

Tens of thousands of uniformed school and college students have turned out, demanding a crackdown on buses, many without fitness certificates, that often engage in unsafe races in the streets.

Police in Bangladesh's capital fired tear gas and rubber bullets Monday to disperse hundreds of demonstrating students, while a prominent human rights group demanded the release of an activist arrested for criticizing the government during more than a week of protests.

They also reported that alleged pro-government activists had attacked protesting students. Local media have blamed groups linked to the Awami League.

The government warned of tough punitive actions against instigators of student demonstrations.

At that time, students boycotted classes to protest the government's job quota system, which limited the number of open roles for university graduates.

Bangladesh's transport sector is widely seen as corrupt, unregulated and risky. Still, the anger hasn't subdued. But they have had little success so far as the demonstrators refuse to give up their protest.

"We don't want to be killed on road crash". This act was done to control the massive student protests that have risen into violence.

The protests have sometimes turned violent, with angry mobs vandalising vehicles and confronting drivers.

The government rushed the new draft of the Road Transport Act 2018 to the Cabinet amidst pressure from student protests for safe roads and an unannounced strike by bus operators in response to the demonstrations.

Meanwhile, thousands of students gathered at Shahbagh intersection at around 1100 hrs, checking valid licences of drivers and blocking three sides of the intersection. Bangladesh's transport workers on Thursday stopped operating bus services across the country and demanded security from the student protesters.

Alam was picked up by police in Dhaka and detained following the interview.

Bangladesh authorities have shut down mobile internet across the country, in an effort to contain the violence and what they is misinformation online. At least 12,000 people die each year in road accidents in Bangladesh. As news of the teenagers' traffic deaths spread rapidly on social media, they became a catalyst for an outpouring of anger against the government.