Teens block roads for seventh day over road safety

Teens block roads for seventh day over road safety

Police denied they fired rubber bullets or tear gas at the protesters.

"The concerns expressed by youth about road safety are legitimate and a solution is needed for a mega city like Dhaka", she said in a statement.

The protesters were attacked by some people who were alleged to be linked to the ruling party activists with some of them armed with machetes, Dhaka's Dhanmondi neighborhoods.

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.

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

In Melbourne, Australia, a school of music and arts for children of Bangladeshi descent named Anondodhara organized a symbolic protest to show solidarity for the ongoing demands of the students in Bangladesh to have safe roads.

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

The BCL were also blamed for attacks on journalists - including the destruction of phones and cameras - which the Daily Star newspaper called a "reprehensible violation" of press freedom. The Bangladesh Chatro League is a students' political organisation linked to the ruling Awami League party.

"Stern actions await those who are spreading propaganda to instigate (further) the (protesting) students", he said launching a nationwide "Traffic Week" at Dhaka intersection. His colleagues said Alam was tortured after he was detained on Sunday night.

A Bangladeshi child holds a placard as she participates with protesting students in Dhaka
A Bangladeshi child holds a placard as she participates with protesting students in Dhaka

Law Minister Anisul Huq told a separate briefing that if police investigations found drivers to have deliberately caused accidents to kill someone, they would face death penalty under the country's penal code.

Meanwhile, telecommunications companies were ordered to suspend 3G and 4G services for a period of 24 hours on late Saturday.

"We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence and call on all for calm", the United Nations resident coordinator Bangladesh Mia Seppo said.

They have ignored repeated calls from the government for them to return home.

The protesters are demanding safer roads in Bangladesh, where corruption is rife, making it easy for unlicensed drivers and unregistered vehicles to ply the roads.

The UNT students held the protest for an hour. But that figure is disputed by the private organization Bangladesh Commuters' Welfare Association, which says at least 7,397 people were killed in road accidents a year ago.

The unprecedented numbers on the streets have forced the Awami League government - unable to control the protests in a week - to come to the dialogue table.

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

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