Bangladesh shuts down mobile internet in protest crackdown

Erika Holt
August 8, 2018

The government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled Bangladesh since 2009 but in recent months it has been shaken by mass protests demanding an end to the decades-old system of discriminatory civil service recruitment. The opposition has denied involvement.

The protests, which began last Sunday after two college students were struck and killed by a pair.

Bangladesh's Cabinet on Monday endorsed a draft law that would increase the maximum punishment for an accident leading to death to five years in jail, up from the current three years.

The deliberate running over of people will draw murder charges and carry the death sentence, he added.

The violence continued Sunday with police firing tear gas into a large crowd marching toward an office of the ruling Awami League party, an AFP correspondent said.

"Stern actions await those who are spreading propaganda to instigate (further) the (protesting) students", he said launching a nationwide "Traffic Week" at Dhaka intersection.

In response to the unrest, the government launched a week-long drive to check vehicle certificates in a bid to improve traffic safety, but said it would not tolerate more disruption by the protesters.

Police said they were still investigating Sunday's attack on a vehicle carrying the us ambassador by a group of armed men, some riding motorcycles. There were no injuries but two vehicles were damaged.

"Bangladeshi authorities must immediately halt the violence perpetrated by government supporters against protesters and journalists and respect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly", he said.

Ms. Bernicat became the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh in February 2015.

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Dhaka: As many as eight journalists have been allegedly beaten up by activists of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party, while they were covering the student protests on road safety in Dhaka.

"Then we broke the locks of a building and around 50 boys and girls took shelter there".

Alam was screaming as he was forced into a auto, it quoted security guards at the building as saying. "Several teams of security forces have been sent to restore the order", Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Police Abdullah Hel Kafi said.

Student protesters shared a video shot from a balcony in Dhaka's Bashundhara, and gun shots can clearly be heard on the streets below.

Amnesty International called for Alam's immediate release, with Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich saying in a statement that the arrest "marks a risky escalation of a crackdown by the government".

The protesters clashed with the police, pro-government youths and transporters at different parts of the capital during the weeklong demonstrations.

Students have brought traffic to a standstill in the city, demanding justice for the two victims.

More than 4,000 people die in road accidents each year in Bangladesh, one of the world's highest rates.

However, hospital staff said dozens of people had been injured, some seriously.

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