05/21/2013, 00.00
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Dhaka, 50 injured in clashes between textile workers and police

by Sumon Corraya
At least 7 thousand workers of 20 companies in the sector took to the streets to demand the minimum wage increase (to 103 dollars a month). The highway linking the capital to Tangail blocked in protest. The intervention of the police to disperse the demonstration. Accusations traded over responsibility for the violence.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - At least 50 people were injured in clashes between textile workers c and the police yesterday in Ashulia, the industrial district of Dhaka. Workers blocked the highway linking the capital with Tangail, central Bangladesh, demanding a minimum wage increase and other benefits. In response, the police charged the protesters to clear the area and restore circulation. Mostafizur Rahimn, chief of police of the district, reports that "about 7 thousand workers from 20 textile companies organized [yesterday] a protest in Ashulia, but we brought the situation under control by dispersing them with the use of tear gas."

The textile and clothing sector workers took to the streets to demand an increase in the minimum wage, set at 103 dollars a month, along with other concessions including a lunch break. Rakib Hossian, a 32 year-old worker, says he is unable to support his family on "64 dollars" per month. He has been working for the Ha-Meem textile group for two years.

According to the workers who took to the streets, the demonstration was peaceful in nature but the police attack triggered the situation. The police chief - trading blame and responsibility -  rejects the accusations and points his finger at the workers who "attacked us first."

Last week all companies in the textile sector were closed for three days due to strikes and demonstrations. Public opinion and civil society are still shaken by the collapse of the factory-tower on April 27 last which has caused more than a thousand deaths and touched people's hearts at home and abroad. According organizations to protect the rights of workers, in the last 10 years in Bangladesh - second largest producer of textiles after China - at least 2 thousand people have died in fires or accidents in factories. Rosaline Costa, an activist for human rights, ensures that the protest will continue until the workers' demands are heeded.


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See also
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Phnom Penh: arrests and injuries in clashes between police and textile workers
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