Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Violent student protest erupts after army, police beat up university students mercilessly
Students across Bangladesh fought with riot police yesterday and today in what is the most serious challenge yet to the military-backed government. (Read The Daily Star article)
To protest the attack on students and to demand withdrawal of army camp from Dhaka University where the clash took place , students of seven universities and many colleges in and outside the capital burst into protest yesterday, bringing academic activities to an abrupt halt.
More than 150 students and four police were injured in the confrontations in which police fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters as well as using water cannons and repeated baton charges.
Students pelted police with stones and bricks. Police beat up Dhaka University's Acting Vice-chancellor Prof AFM Yusuf Haider, Proctor AKA Firoz Ahmed, the acting VC's personal assistant, and other DU employees in the Central Shaheed Minar area.
Five on-duty journalists of different dailies were also injured during the clashes.
The untoward incident erupted yesterday at around 3:30pm (BDT) when army personnel mercilessly beat three DU students and humiliated a teacher over a petty dispute concerning comments passed by spectators watching a soccer match on the university gymnasium ground where an army camp is situated. Violence erupted on the second day today on the DU campus when hundreds of students confronted police at different points on the university premises.
The angry students are fighting running battles with police as the riot police charged dozens of tear gas shells on the students following yesterday's clash that left more than 150 students and four policemen injured.
The DU Teachers' Association has backed the protesting students and threw an ultimatum to the university authorities to pullout the army camp from the campus by tomorrow noon.
Thousands of students at DU fought running battles with police last night demanding removal of an army camp from the campus and an apology from the army for beating up three students earlier in the afternoon.
Taking positions in took positions inside their dormitories, students pelted police with stones and brickbats. They put tires and other things on fire at places to save themselves from the tear gas.
The demonstrators burnt effigies of the army chief and other flammable items like chairs and tables. They put up barricades on the road in front of some two dormitories with big branches of trees.
Today, at least two police personnel were injured today when students and police confronted amid an indefinite student strike at DU protesting yesterday's police and army brutality. The strike is being observed by boycotting classes.
The disgruntled students also vandalised nearly 100 vehicles at Shahbagh intersection and Aziz Super Market as the overnight battle raged on. They also set fire to an army jeep and beat up an army personnel in front of Aziz Super Market.
Teacher-Student Centre (TSC), Mall Chattar and Register Building areas virtually became battleground as chase and counter-chase took place between police and students.
Students of different other universities and colleges brought out processions chanting slogans against the army, wore black badges, vandalised vehicles and blocked vehicular movement on roads protesting the incident.
Due to the protest, academic activities came to a halt at at different major educational institutions including Jahangirnagar University, Rajshahi University, Chittagong University, Kustia University, Jagannath University, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Carmichael University College in Rangpur and Barisal Govt Brajo Mohan College.
Photo: BBC News