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Protesters paralyze parts of Bangladesh after a speeding bus kills two students

08 August 2018

Hundreds of students were injured on Saturday when police reportedly fired rubber bullets into crowds, and tensions escalated again on Sunday.

The students in Bangladesh are protesting for justice and road safety measures after a bus crushed two of their peers to death and injured several others in Dhaka last Sunday.

Long-route bus operators on Saturday called indefinite period strike across the country from the night, protesting at alleged vandalism of vehicles in the ongoing student protests in the capital.

The activists of AL's front organisations - Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) and its youth wing Awami Juba League physically attacked the journalists while they were reporting on the attacks on the students protesting at Science Lab and Jhigatola areas in Dhaka.

Students in school uniforms were seen stopping drivers and asking for their driver's licenses, and blocking those who could not show one.

In Rajshahi, students of different schools and colleges gathered at Zero Point at Saheb Bazar of the city around 1030 hrs protesting the attack on students during their demonstrations and seeking safer roads.

Police in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, fired tear gas and used batons on Saturday to disperse.

On several occasions, protesters and journalists covering the demonstrations were also attacked by unidentified men carrying sticks and metal rods, other media reported.

A protester said students were holding protests peacefully on the road when they were attacked.

The proximate cause of the protests was the death of two young students who were crushed under the wheels of a racing bus near on Airport Road in Dhaka.

A photographer for an global news organisation was among those beaten. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal spoke on the government's behalf this week, saying "all the demands raised by the agitating students are logical, and the process to implement those demands is underway".

"We must bring changes", said Selina Akter, a mother of two schoolchildren who joined the group.

The Awami League has denied allegations that its supporters had inflicted violence on the protesters. At present, the Bangladeshi leadership is already in crisis, in such a way the student movement is going to increase trouble.

Protesters, some as young as 13, have been stopping traffic on Dhaka's notoriously clogged streets to check vehicles and drivers have valid documents before letting them drive on.

The protests come just months before general elections scheduled for December and follow another series of protests in Dhaka this past spring.

Bangladesh appeared to be one of the world's worst accident prone countries with the World Bank saying more than 4,000 people die in road accidents each year.

Additional police have been deployed to thwart any untoward incidents and for the security of students, said Iftekhar Alam, spokesperson of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police.

Protesters paralyze parts of Bangladesh after a speeding bus kills two students