Bangladesh lifts curfew in major cities

Authorities have lifted a curfew imposed last week on six major cities in Bangladesh in the wake of violent anti-government protests that left at least one dead, the government said.

Bangladesh lifts curfew in major cities
Authorities have lifted a curfew imposed last week on six major cities in Bangladesh in the wake of violent anti-government protests that left at least one dead, the government said.


The country's military-back interim government slapped the nighttime curfew last Wednesday after student protests against emergency rule spilled over into street clashes, injuring hundreds. There have been no new demonstrations since the curfew was imposed.

"As the law and order situation has stabilized, the curfew is withdrawn," the Home Ministry said in a statement Monday.

Security forces have detained several people, including five university teachers suspected of instigating unrest during the protests.

The government also planned to take legal action against those found responsible for fomenting "instability and chaos," the statement said.

A retired High Court judge would launch a judicial inquiry into the violence from Tuesday, the United News of Bangladesh news agency said.

More than 144 people have been arrested for violating the nighttime curfew since Wednesday, when it was imposed on six major cities, including the capital Dhaka to halt the violence.

The curfew was relaxed during daytime hours, allowing businesses to reopen and traffic chaos to return to city streets. It was to have been re-imposed from midnight Monday, before the withdrawal announcement.

The demonstrations began Aug. 20 at Dhaka University by students demanding the removal of army posts on college campuses. The protests spread to other colleges across the country and then onto city streets.

Many vendors and slum-dwellers joined the heated street protests, setting vehicles on fire and damaging buildings and public property. One person was killed and hundreds were wounded, prompting the government to impose the curfew.

Authorities also closed all public universities and colleges, and ordered students to vacate the campuses.

The protesters demanded the immediate restoration of democracy and an end to emergency rule _ imposed in January after President Iajuddin Ahmed canceled scheduled elections following weeks of violent opposition protests demanding electoral reforms.

Demonstrations, strikes, political activities or open criticism of the government are not allowed under emergency rule.

The curfew was not in force in 58 smaller towns and more than 75,000 villages, where the majority of the country's 145 million people live.

AP
Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2007, 13:33
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