Hundreds of small investors, fuming at the series of plunge in share prices, ran amok, clashing with policemen, setting fire to a multi-storied building, ransacking scores of vehicles, attacking brokerages and other business establishments in the city. More than 50 people were detained on charge of vandalism from the trouble-spot Motijheel area, the country’s commercial heart, after a series of fierce clashes between policemen and distraught investors.
In the latest skirmishes following weeks of clashes, police used batons to disperse the protesters lobbing tear gas shells in pitched battles that snarled traffic for about four hours.
The investors began to agitate within 30 minutes of the trading, suspending traffic on the road stretch from Shapla Chattar to Ramakrishna Mission Intersection.
Hundreds of investors also staged demonstration in the Chittagong Stock Exchange and across the country. Persisting panic selling pressure has dragged down the benchmark index DGEN below 6000-mark on Monday after nine months, turning the protest that entered seventh day more vigorous.
The DSE General Index (DGEN), the main gauge of the market, closed at 5579.50 with a steepest fall of 7.81 per cent or 472.90 points.
An investor, rolling down tears through his chin, said, “I am completely bankrupted.”
Several brokerage firms have suspended trading as data network cable was burnt due to setting fires in Modhumita Building by the angry investors.
Plumes of smoke billowed out of the glass-fronted building as two fire fighting units rushed there to battle to douse the blaze.
The investors torched scores of vehicles, including a police van and chanted slogans against regulators and the government.
The DGEN has lost more than 37 per cent since December 5, when it hit a record high and in the last nine trading sessions, it shed 2,000 points or 26 per cent.
The slump followed an announcement by the Securities and Exchange Commission on that the government decided to postpone a long-promised listing 21 of state-owned companies (SoEs).
Clashes between distraught investors and police have become regular occurrences in recent weeks.