Mon, Dec 13, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Bangladeshi wage protests turn into riots, three killed

AFP, CHITTAGONG, BANGLADESH

Three people were killed and scores injured yesterday as tens of thousands of Bangladeshi garment workers rioted over low wages, police said.

Police fired live bullets and tear gas shells as workers staged violent protests in Dhaka and the southeastern city of Chittagong, a day after Korean company Youngone — the country’s largest exporter — shut down all 17 of its factories following worker demonstrations.

Bangladesh’s garment workers, who make clothes for many Western brands, have been protesting that a government hike in wages that was due last month has not been implemented.

“Three people have died, including a rickshaw driver who died on the spot after he was hit by a brick,” said Meshbahuddin, the special branch police chief of Chittagong.

He said about 50 people had been injured at the Chittagong Export Processing Zone, where 20,000 workers attacked factories and a police station.

“They torched scores of vehicles and attacked our officers and the station with bricks and stones. We fired live bullets when they became completely out of control,” another officer said.

In Dhaka, 4,000 mainly female workers torched two vehicles and blocked a main road in protest against their employers.

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