Bangladesh police, garment workers clash for second day

DHAKA, July 31, 2010 (AFP) – Bangladeshi police fired rubber bullets Saturday in a bid to subdue garment workers who rioted for a second day in protest against low pay as unrest spread to areas outside Dhaka, police said. Workers fought pitched street battles with riot police in the manufacturing hub of Ashulia, north of Dhaka, as union officials rejected a government-backed pay hike as “insultingly low.”

“Over 20,000 workers walked off the job and many clashed with police, hurling stones and rocks. We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them,” police inspector Nasir Ahmed told AFP.

They also burnt tyres, blocked a key road linking Dhaka with northern Bangladesh, attacked factories and forced police to run for cover, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

The factories have announced a shutdown in response and “violence has ebbed but the situation is still tense,” Ahmed said.

At least 10,000 workers also blockaded a key road in Narayanganj, south of Dhaka, a police constable said, adding the labourers were holding a peaceful protest amid heavy police presence.

The protests come a day after violence erupted in a slew of locations across the Bangladeshi capital, forcing factorie