Sunday, February 25, 2024

Savar building collapse sparks workers’ agitation

Thousands of readymade garments (RMG) workers from different factories in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj vandalised more than 150 vehicles and set fire
on several factories on Friday. This has left 50 workers injured.
The workers took to the streets, demanding exemplary punishment for Sohel Rana, owner of Rana Plaza in Savar, and resignation of the home minister, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir.
The agitated workers carried out vandalism in Shewrapara, Kazipara, Mirpur, Pallabi, Shyamoli, Kolyanpur, Gabtoli, Gulshan, Badda, Rampura and Malibagh.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) declared a holiday at all readymade garments factories across the country for Saturday, to express their shock at the death of workers in the Savar building collapse.
Eight garment workers’ organisations called a daylong strike at all RMG factories across the country for Sunday, to press their seven-point charter of demands, including the arrest of the owner of Rana Plaza and the owners of the garments factories situated in that building. The organisations will also hold processions with black flags across the country on Saturday. They announced it at a joint press briefing at Pragati Conference Center, Mukti Bhaban, in
the city.
The agitated workers, instead of going to their workplaces, vandalised more than 150 vehicles in Hazipara, Rampura, and Badda areas from 10 am to 10:30 am.
Several hundred workers came out on the Dhaka-Aricha highway in Gabtoli and Kalyanpur with bamboo, wooden sticks and brickbats, and started attacking the vehicles plying on the busy thoroughfare. This situation continued till 1 pm.
Hundreds of unruly workers, carrying bamboo and wooden sticks, vandalised at least 15 vehicles, including BRTC double-decker buses, covered vans and private cars, on Mirpur Road in Shyamoli. At least 15 people, including 10 bus passengers, were hurt.
Hundreds of garment workers of Malibagh, Rampura, Mirpur, Shewrapara and Kazipara areas in the city took to the streets. They staged demonstrations from 8 am and vandalised several factories and shops adjacent to the main thoroughfare.
The garment factories in those areas were open on Friday, as their weekly holiday is on Monday.
Vehicular movement from Mirpur 10 to Agargaon crossing was disrupted in the morning due to surprise demonstrations. They also chanted slogans, demanding safety in workplaces.
Our Gazipur correspondent reports that the workers blocked the Dhaka-Tangail and Dhaka-Mymensingh highways and the Dhaka-Gazipur Road, and vandalised some vehicles at Chandona Chowrasta in the morning. They also set fire on a garments factory and a building in the area.
Police and local sources said thousands of agitating workers had brought out a procession at Konabari on the Dhaka-Tangail highway in the morning.
Traffic movement was disrupted on the highway from 7 am to 11 am. Some workers also set fire on GK Limited, an export-oriented garment factory in Konabari.
The agitated workers brought out a procession in Chandona Chowrasta and Vogra bypass areas on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway, and blocked the highway from 9 am to 11.30 am. At one stage, the workers started to vandalise vehicles and set fire on MH Tower near Chandona Chowrasta and vandalised the ATM centre of AB bank under the tower.
On receiving news, police rushed to the spot. A clash ensued, leaving three persons injured, including Akteruzzaman Liton, assistant deputy director of the Gazipur fire station.
Some garments workers, armed with bamboo sticks, brought out another procession at the Dhaka-Gazipur road, demanding immediate trial of Sohel Rana. They vandalised a number of vehicles and ransacked roadside shops.
AKM Mosharaf Hossain, assistant director (ASP) of industrial police Gazipur-2, said law enforcement agencies have been put on alert to tackle any untoward situation. Additional forces were deployed at various sensitive points of the industrial areas in the district.
At least 10 people were injured as garment workers clashed with law enforcers in Narayanganj district. The clash erupted when police had tried to disperse the stick-wielding workers who vandalised five factories in Panchabati BISIC Industrial Area in Fatullah around 10 am, said Akhter Hossain, officer-in-charge of Fatullah Police Station.
He added that the police has rounded up 22 workers in connection with the vandalism.

Courtesy of The Independent

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