Saturday, 22 September, 2018


Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet in protest crackdown

Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet in protest crackdown Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet in protest crackdown
Bennie Garza | 08 August, 2018, 09:56

More than 4,200 pedestrians were killed in road accidents in Bangladesh in 2017, a 25 per cent increase from 2016, according to the National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways, a private research group.

Washington D.C., Aug 5: The motorcade of United States Ambassador to Bangladesh, Marcia Bernicat, was the subject of a late-night attack in Mohammadpur, Dhaka, on Saturday, as she was leaving a farewell dinner organised for the chief of a non-governmental organisation.

The traffic chaos of the past week began easing on Monday, as enormous demonstrations gave way to sporadic protests, though hundreds of students clashed with police in Dhaka's Bashundhara area where some private universities are located.

On a related note, as many as eight journalists were allegedly beaten up by activists of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party, while they were covering the demonstrations.

The crowded capital of 18 million has been paralysed by angry school and college students demanding changes to transport laws following the July 29 deaths, after a privately-operated bus ran over a group of students.

Police today lobbed tear shells, used water cannons and charged batons to disperse a procession brought out by the Dhaka University students demanding safe roads and protesting the ongoing attacks on students, The Daily Star reported.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called on students to return home after police reportedly fired tear gas at a crowd gathered in front of the Awami League's office in Dhaka's Jigatala neighbourhood. On Thursday, some students even took matters into their own hands and began enforcing rules and regulations.

Bangladesh's transport sector is widely seen as corrupt, unregulated and unsafe. Furthermore, they call for harsh punishments for traffic violators, including the death penalty for reckless drivers.

The education ministry shut down high schools on Thursday in an effort to quell unrest, promising pupils their demands for road safety reforms would be considered. Still, the anger hasn't subdued.

As the protests grew in recent days, students stopped vehicles - including those belonging to government officials - to ask them for their papers and licences.

But instead, it first triggered widespread anger on social media and then led to a wave of student protests. But they have had little success so far as the demonstrators refuse to give up their protest.

On Sunday, a group of students of the University of Asia Pacific was also assaulted by motorcycle-borne men near Farmgate in Dhaka. "Our children are very safe", he said.

"The government should resign immediately for failing to tackle road accidents and solve the crisis of mass commuting", Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, its secretary general, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, not everyone seems to be happy with the students' action.

Dhaka remained largely cut off from the rest of Bangladesh as buses continued to stop plying from other parts of the country.

Authorities have pleaded with demonstrators to call off protests that have almost paralysed Dhaka and prompted foreign embassies to issue travel alerts.

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