Around 65 injured in garment worker-police clash in Bangladesh

17:12, June 30, 2010      

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Around 65 people, including 15 cops were injured after violent clashes between the garment workers and the law enforcers in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka Wednesday.

The clashes erupted Wednesday morning when police charged into several thousand garment workers staging demonstrations, blocking a busy road in Dhaka and demanding reopening of their factories.

According to Garment Workers' Unit, the workers of three factories in the city's western Mirpur area took to the street as they, coming to join work in the morning, saw a notice saying that their factories would remain closed for an indefinite period that made them furious.

As the police attempted to disperse them from the road, the workers locked in clashes with the law enforcers. The police fired teargas shells and used water cannon to disperse the demonstrators.

Delwar Hossain, officer-in-charge of Kafrul Police Station in Dhaka, told Xinhua, "Around 15 policemen were injured as the agitating workers of three factories of the Outright Group pelted brick chips on the police personnel."

He said, "the situation is now almost under control."

Mushrefa Mishu, president of the Garment Workers' Unit, said, " nearly 50 workers were injured following the incident of sporadic clashes which lasted for several hours."

According to eyewitnesses, workers of the factories took to the street and also called workers of other factories in that area to join them.

The demonstrators vandalized at least several factories as well, police said.

Labor unrest in Bangladesh's apparel industry, which contributed around 79 percent of the total export earning of 15.57 billion U.S.dollars in 2008-09 fiscal year (July 2008-June 2009), takes place frequently over unpaid wages and overtime.

According to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, the South Asian country has now around 4,500 garment factories which employ over 2.5 million workers. The minimum monthly wage of a garment worker is now 1,662.5 taka (about 24 U.S. dollars) a month.

Source: Xinhua


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