Thursday, December 23, 2010

Worker uprise in Bangla-Desh ends up with four dead, hundreds injured

The date for this news is December 13 but I did not know until today (thanks "free media" for keeping us so ill informed). 

The conflict seems to have begun as a protest of workers of Korean textile company Youngone Ltd, demanding the restoration of a food allowance of 250 taka (c. $3.5) withheld by the management when it began paying the minimal salary (they "raised salaries" by 500 taka (per law) but then deducted 250. 

This caused the Korean multinational to close their whole complex, the Korean Export Processing Zone (KEPZ) at the Chittagong harbor, causing factories through the country to stop production. When some 10,000 workers arrived to work and found the industries closed, the riots began. 

Workers clashed with the police in the cities of Chittagong, Dhaka and Narayanganj. Police used live ammunition, killing four people, a textile worker (Ruhi Das, 45), a rickshaw-puller (Ariful Islam) and other two not specified people at the KEPZ. More than 200 people were injured, including 56 police agents, one also shot (not cler by whom). 30 people were arrested.

The most affected city was Chittagong, where workers scattered their fights through the city, bringing it to a halt. They set fire to some vehicles and ransacked 30 factories.

Source: The Daily Star, via Revolution in South Asia.

Update (from Random Pottins):

Union leader, Moshrefa Mishu, was arrested at night and without any warrant by plain clothes policemen, in spite of being not directly related to the riot. He is now being accused, falsely, of connection with a banned islamist group. Relatives have not been able to visit her in jail.

She is now at hospital and still under arrest (and no visits), under humiliating conditions as her guards are policemen (with emphasis in men).

You can sign a petition for her liberation HERE.

That same weekend 25 workers were killed and more than a hundred injured in a factory fire because the emergency doors were locked by the patrons.

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