Bangladesh PM urges protesters to go home amid violence

DHAKA: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged students on Sunday to go home as police fired tear gas at teenage protesters during an eighth day of unprecedented demonstrations over road safety which have paralysed parts of Dhaka.
Students in their tens of thousands have brought parts of the capital to a standstill since two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus. The unrest quickly spread beyond the capital.
Authorities have shut down mobile Internet services across swathes of the country, officials and local media said.
On Saturday, the protests took a violent turn in Dhaka’s Jigatala neighbourhood, with more than 100 people injured as police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators.
A car carrying US Ambassador Marcia Bernicat was also attacked by “armed men” but she escaped unscathed, the embassy said.
The violence continued on Sunday with police firing tear gas into a large crowd marching towards an office of the ruling Awami League party.
Dozens of protesters were attacked by people alleged to be ruling party activists, some armed with machetes, in Dhaka’s Dhanmondi neighbourhood.
Twelve were treated at Dhaka Medical Colleague Hospital, police inspector Bacchu Mia said.
A photographer for an international news organisation was among those beaten.
Hasina warned that a “third party” could sabotage the protests and put the safety of demonstrators at risk.
“That’s why I request all guardians and parents to keep their children at home. Whatever they have done is enough,” the prime minister said from her office.
Hasina’s warning came as protesters marched towards the scene of Saturday’s clashes chanting “We want justice!”
Police denied they fired rubber bullets or tear gas at the protesters on Saturday.
However, hospital staff said dozens of people had been injured, some seriously, and injuries were consistent with rubber bullets.
The Awami League has denied that its officials beat up students. — AFP