Dhaka clashes turn violent; mobile internet services snapped

DHAKA Demonstrators most of them students protest over recent traffic accidents that killed a boy and a girl.—Reuters

The report adds: "AP photojournalist AM Ahad was badly beaten in the head and in his legs by Chharta League men while he was covering the students' protest in front of Dhaka City College".

Here is how the story unfolded.

The protests began after two youths were run over and killed while several others were injured by a bus on July 29. If the bus driver's casualties are lost and the people raise their voices against it then the bus operator goes on strike.

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren took to the streets of Dhaka, blocking roads and intersections, leading to deadlock in the city.

Police fired tear gas and used water cannon to disperse protesters, as students have stopped vehicles, demanding to check drivers' licenses and their vehicles' roadworthiness.

"We don't want to be killed on road crash".

How did things turn violent?

Sometime ago a number of police and government officials were found lacking proper documents after being confronted by protesters.

Meanwhile, suspension of bus services across the country has put extra pressure on the railway as many are opting for the service in the absence of buses.

Witnesses say police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at demonstrators.

With reports of an internet shut-down throughout parts of the capital in an attempt to stop protesters from coordinating action against one another, there have been further accusations of loyalists to the governing Awami League party attacking protesters.

Journalists covering the demonstrations have also been attacked and injured.

According to Al Jazeera, the government blocked mobile phone signals for 24 hours in a bid to halt the riots in the capital and across the country.

"We are interrogating him for giving false information to different media and for provocative comments", police official Moshiur Rahman told AFP.

A third party has already mixed themselves among the demonstrators, carrying fake IDs and wearing uniforms; but they are not real students.

"The Bangladeshi government must end the crackdown on the student protesters and people speaking out against it".

A photographer for an worldwide news organisation was among those beaten.

Students have now been protesting for nine days, and have ignored repeated calls from the government for them to return home.

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

Her party is blaming the main opposition, led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, for using the student anger to create chaos for political gains.

"Students and young people have a legitimate right to speak out on issues of concern to them including road safety issues and to have their opinion heard without the threat of violence", it said in a statement on Sunday.

A auto carrying USA ambassador Marcia Bernicat was also attacked by "armed men" but she escaped unscathed, the embassy said.

Related news: