Rana Plaza building collapse victims, their relatives and garment organisations formed a human chain at Savar in Dhaka on Thursday in protest against a bid to demolish and evict a memorial set up at the collapse site in memory of more than 1100 workers who were killed during the world’s deadliest factory accident.
Labour leaders, union activists and garment workers took part in the human chain as the Road and Highway Department started eviction drive against illegal buildings and structures that were built grabbing the land of Dhaka-Aricha Highway.
Imdadul Islam, president of Rana Plaza Workers’ Union, said that the memorial was erected in 2014 commemorating the victims of the accident during which more than 2,400 workers were also injured.
After the collapse on April 24 in 2013, every year the government bodies, political parties, trade unions and workers’ federations, different organisations and individuals pay tribute to the victims on the anniversary of the incident by placing wreaths at the memorial, he said.
Though the memorial was built on government land, it became a symbol of actions for workplace safety and safeguarding rights of the workers.
Imdadul said the mobile court had been trying to evict the memorial but the protesters continued demonstration since Monday after the news of the initiative came out.
He claimed that the authorities were trying to erase the public memory of the persecution and discrimination experienced by the garment workers.
The mobile court, however, refused to comment on the issue.
Communist Party of Bangladesh president Mujahidul Islam Selim, addressing the human chain, said that the workers would protect the memorial as the government targeted to demolish memory of the mass killing by a group of corrupts.
He also demanded that the government should set up a new memorial on the Rana Plaza land commemorating the victims.
Garment Workers Front, Bangladesh Garment Workers Solidarity, among other craft unions, also protested at the move to evict the memorial.
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