Conflicts & War

Bangladesh opposition supporter killed in police firing during protest

Dhaka, Sep 1 (EFE).- A supporter of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by opposition leader and former prime minister Khaleda Zia, was killed and 28 others were injured on Thursday as the police opened fire during a protest against high fuel prices near the capital.

The main opposition party had organized a protest in Narayanganj, around 25 kms southwest of Dhaka, BNP local spokesperson Shakhawat Hossain told EFE.

“Police charged with batons and opened fire on our rally without any provocation. One of our youth activists was shot dead and at least 200 others received pellets,” he claimed.

The spokesperson said the clash took place in the morning, when the protesters had just begun to assemble and the event was yet to start.

A doctor at the Narayanganj general hospital, Nazmul Hossain, confirmed to EFE that they had received a protester’s body – without offering more details – and added that 28 people were being treated for pellet injuries.

The police said it had not been confirmed if the protester had died of a bullet injury.

“We have to wait until we get a post-mortem report,” Narayanganj deputy police chief Amir Khasru told EFE, claiming that at least 20 police officers had been injured in the clash.

The incident comes after last week the BNP launched protests in different parts of the country against the rising prices of energy and other essential commodities.

At a press conference in Dhaka on Monday, the party’s secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that more than 750 opposition leaders and activists had been injured in attacks by the police and activists of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s party.

In early August, Bangladesh authorities had raised the petroleum prices by up to 51 per cent to limit the use of fuel, with the government struggling to pay for imports amid rising global prices.

In recent months, inflation in the country has shot up, touching 7.56 percent in June according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, compared to 5.64 percent in the same period last year and marking the highest figure since 2014.

The Bangladesh government in July requested the International Monetary Fund for a loan for the first time in a decade as the country was forced to impose measures to limit the use of fuel amid high inflation.

Though the government did not reveal the amount of the loan, media reported that Bangladesh had sought $4.5 billion from the global lender to ease pressure on the country’s balance of payment amid depleting foreign exchange reserves. EFE


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