Students hit with tear gas at road safety protest

Bangladeshi students stand on a road amid tear gas during clashes with the police in Dhaka on Sunday

Students in Bangladesh say they wanted a peaceful protest, but rubber bullets and tear gas have ended that.

Police in Bangladesh's capital have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of students who are demanding safer streets and protesting recent attacks on students and journalists.

Giving in to the demands of student protesters, Bangladesh's Cabinet today approved a new road safety law and promised to consider death penalty for deliberately causing accidents as violent clashes between the demonstrators and police continued to cripple normal life here.

Bangladesh has witnessed massive student protests over the past several days, after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus in the capital Dhaka on July 29. Thousands of students from various schools and colleges came out on the streets, stopping vehicles to check for licenses and other permits, with the protest entering its eighth consecutive day on Sunday.

"We won't leave the roads until our demands are met. we want safe roads and safe drivers", protester Al Miran told The Telegraph.

Images and photos of the attacks on students allegedly by the ruling party activists have flooded the social media, prompting renewed outrage.

A Bangladeshi child holds a placard, as she participates with protesting students in Dhaka.

Footage of the attack on social media showed him surrounded and beaten by almost a dozen men in the city's Dhanmondi neighbourhood.

But officials have made it clear they wants the protests - which have embarrassed the government of Sheikh Hasina - to end immediately.

The United Nations said it was anxious for the safety of the children and young people caught up in the protests. The government blocked 3G and 4G internet services for a period on Saturday evening - disrupting protesters' efforts to organise and share their actions.

Alam's organisation, Drik Picture Library, said 30 to 35 men in plainclothes swept into his Dhaka apartment building, saying they were police detectives, and took him into custody.

The Awami League has denied allegations that its supporters had inflicted violence on the protesters.

The protests, according to Shahidul Alam, famous photographer and social activist, were driven by larger factors than road safety alone.

"We are deeply concerned about the reports of violence and call on all for calm", the United Nations resident coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said.

It was not immediately clear how many people may have been injured.

The events in Dhaka have been compounded by the fact that the country's long-time ally India has recently made 4 million ethnic Bengalis in the Indian state of Assam effectively stateless by failing to list them on a registry of Indian citizens. She has blamed the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, and its main ally Jamaat-e-Islami for an attempt to manipulate student anger to foment trouble.



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