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Activists decry Bangladesh response to student protests

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 8/07/18, 11:27 am

A U.S.-based human rights group on Tuesday accused Bangladeshi authorities of responding with unnecessary force to student protesters demonstrating against poor road safety after a speeding bus killed two students last week in Dhaka. At least 140 students protesting in the capital city have sustained injuries since Saturday as police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas. Human Rights Watch said members of the ruling party’s youth wing also attacked protesters with machetes and sticks.

On Sunday, plainclothes officers arrested Shahidul Alam, a popular activist who criticized the government during the demonstrations. The protests continued into Monday as students clashed with police.

“Yet again, Bangladesh authorities seem determined to take abusive shortcuts to problems and then denounce those who criticize,” said Brad Adams, the Asian director with Human Rights Watch. “Instead, authorities should prosecute those, including members of the ruling party’s youth supporters, who are attacking children with sticks and machetes.”

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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