At least 50 people were injured as the police attacked a procession the march of 10 left parties to lay siege to energy ministry in Dhaka on Wednesday for immediate cancellation of gas price hike.
The cops fired bullets and tear gas and used water cannon to disperse the protesters, who tried to move towards the secretariat breaking through police barricade. During the police attack, the protesters also vandalised water cannon of the police and vehicles parked
in the road stretch between the National Press Club and secretariat.
Of the injured, 15 were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital while others took treatment at different hospitals.
Communist Party of Bangladesh and Socialist Party of Bangladesh and Democratic Left Alliance, a platform of eight left parties, organised two simultaneous programmes to lay siege to the ministry.
The left parties would hold joint rallies at 4:00pm today in front of the National Press Club as well as in district and upazila headquarters protesting against the police attack.
Democratic Left Alliance coordinator Firoz Ahmed announced the programme after a meeting of the parties.
The government hiked gas prices by 22 per cent with effect from March 1.
Terming the gas price hike illogical, the left parties continued with protests for the cancellation of the decision.
Leaders and activists of the left parties started gathering in front of the Press Club from 11:00am to lay siege to the energy ministry which was announced after a half-day general strike on February 28.
After brief rallies, they began the march towards the ministry at about 11:50am and faced police barricade. The protesters scuffled with the cops and broke through the barricade.
At one stage, police fired tear gas and sprayed water by water cannon into the protesters triggering chase and counter chase.
The protesters hurled brickbats and ransacked parts of the water cannon and several vehicles parked on the road between press club and secretariat.
Riot police swooped on the spot and attacked the protesters again in front of National Press Club at about 12:20pm when the protesters were staging demonstration blockading Topkhana Road.
Police chased the protesters and fired tear gas and bullets into the protesters. They also charged batons on the fleeing protesters.
Police captured several protesters but other protesters managed to take them away. The protesters took away a detained youth, who fell sick, from police custody and rushed him to the hospital.
CPB general secretary Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed said that the police attacked their peaceful march without any provocation.
DLA coordinator Firoz Ahmed said that at least 50 of their leaders and activists were injured in the police attack.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police additional deputy commissioner (Ramna division) Navid Kamal Shaibal said that as the secretariat was a key point installation their duty was to protect it from any intrusion.
‘We were bound to go for actions as the protesters were trying to enter the secretariat breaking through police barricade,’ he said.
According to government decision, prices of kitchen gas were increased to Tk 750 for a single burner and Tk 800 for double burners from Tk 600 and Tk 650 respectively.
The government also declared that gas prices would be increased again to Tk 900 for single burners and Tk 950 for double burners from June 1. The gas price hike from June 1 was, however, stayed by the High Court.
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