Pictures showing agony, social media campaigns urging for help, streets flooding with young students, everyone only has one question – what exactly is happening in Bangladesh?
Defeating the complete media blackout, the Bangladeshi youth used social media to get their plight heard.
What Is Happening?
A road accident killing two school students, a boy and a girl, erupted protests across Dhaka, paralyzing the city of 18 million people. The innocent students were run over by a speeding bus while racing another school bus to pick passengers on the busy road. This rose concerns regarding road safety and drivers driving without licenses as the city has seen multiple incidents of the similar nature. In the last year alone, 4000 pedestrians were killed in road accidents.
RIGHT NOW IN #bangladesh #Dhaka POLICE ARE FIRING ON UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. @UN @BBCWorld @BBCBreaking @cnnbrk @CNN @BBCNews @priyankachopra @SergioRamos @raftaarmusic @Nabela @BillGates @UNHumanRights @hrw @HRC @CaseyNeistat @SrBachchan #WeWantJustice #bangladeshstudentprotests pic.twitter.com/oo6eVkjFPh
— Sarah Maria (@saarahmaaria) August 6, 2018
As a protest, students took over the roads of Dhaka and started checking for licenses from the vehicle drivers. Reportedly they inquired about licenses from two politicians belonging from the ruling elite Awami League, both of whom didn’t own it.
Further intensifying the protests, police used an unjustified heavy hand on the protestors, using rubber bullets and tear gas – injuring many. Protestors have also claimed that some students were deliberately run over by the buses during protests, four girls were raped and protestors were physically beaten.
“All we want is corruption to be gone and driving licences to stop being handed out like candy” – said a 17-year-old protestor while talking to BBC.
Students in Bangladesh are just unstoppable. You can't stop them by throwing bullets at them or beating them brutally. Even at night, they are ready to protest with candles to remember the students that we've lost during protest. World needs to know. Please retweet.#WeWantJustice pic.twitter.com/TEbk8YPZ3D
— Sifat Hossain ?? (@sifat70) August 5, 2018
Reportedly members of BCL (Bangladesh Chhatra League), a student organization affiliated with the ruling Awami League party has abused the protestors, resorting to physical attacks and sexual offence towards females. US Envoy’s car was also attacked during the unrest on Saturday night.
A female reporter says that she was physically abused by BCL members and was threatened to delete the footage she had of them.
“They kept saying that if they found I didn’t delete it, ‘you’re done… no-one can save you. There’s now fear that those speaking to international media are being targeted.” – she said wishing to say anonymous.
Shahidul Alam, a prominent activist and renowned photographer was charged on Monday for instigating propaganda using social media by urging international media to take notice. His detention came as an aftermath of his interview to Al-Jazeera, where Shahidul Alam said that police used violence against ‘overwhelmingly peaceful student protestors’.
Though Awami League initially denied any violence, the U.S Embassy Dhaka has very bluntly criticized the role of police, saying nothing can justify it.
(2/3) While we don't condone the actions of a few who have engaged in senseless property destruction, including of buses and other vehicles, nothing can justify the brutal attacks and violence over the weekend against the thousands of young people..
— U.S. Embassy Dhaka (@usembassydhaka) August 5, 2018
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