Police picked up at least eight persons and used water cannons on the protesters at Shahbagh intersection in Dhaka during the hartal enforced protesting the government decision to hike gas prices.
The law enforcers lobbed at least 40 round of teargas shells to disperse the demonstrators, our correspondent reports from the spot.
The leftist political parties — Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB), Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD), Biplobi Workers Party, Gonotantrik Biplobi Party, Gonosanghati Andolan and Gonotantrik Bam Morcha — enforced the strike from 6:00am today, which will continue till 12:00am.
The protester spray painted the words ‘Hartal’ on private cars trying to pass the Shahbagh intersection on February 28, 2017. Photo: Anjan Charabortty
Activists of different progressive student alliances blockaded Shahbagh intersection and burnt rubber tyres. The protesters also spray painted ‘Hartal’ on private cars trying to pass the intersection.
Additional police force has been deployed to avert any untoward situation, Maruf Hossain Sorder, Deputy Commissioner of Ramna division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police told The Daily Star.
“The government has irrationally burdened people with the latest gas price hike decision,” said Lucky Akter, president of Bangladesh Student Union (BSU).
A procession was brought out marching from Shabagh intersection to Matsya Bhaban intersection in the capital in support of today’s half-day hartal.
The BNP and the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports extended their support to the hartal.
Vehicles carrying the Secondary School Certificate examinees will remain out of purview of the hartal, said a joint press release of the CPB and BSD.
On Thursday, Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC) raised gas prices by 22.7 percent and decided to implement the hike in two phases.
As per the revised prices, households using double burners will have to pay Tk 800 each from next month, up from Tk 650, while those using single burners would be paying Tk 750 each against Tk 600.
The prices would be increased again on June 1 by another Tk 150 for each gas stove.