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Crowd of protesting students in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A.M. Ahad

Bangladesh: Armed men attack US ambassador's car

August 5, 2018

Ambassador Marcia Bernicat and her security team were unharmed but two cars belonging to her convoy were damaged. The incident took place amid protests for better road safety after two students were killed by a bus.


Armed men attacked a convoy of cars carrying the US ambassador to Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday, US embassy said in a statement on Facebook.

Ambassador Marcia Bernicat and her security team managed to leave the area unharmed, the statement said, adding that two security vehicles were damaged.

The incident comes amid protests by students against lax road safety rules in the country.

On Saturday, Bangladeshi police fired tear gas at crowds of students occupying an intersection in the center of Dhaka.

"It was a peaceful rally, but suddenly police fired tear gas shells aimed at us that left several injured," Mohammad Atikur Rahman, one of the protesters, told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur news agency.

A number of journalists were reportedly also beaten, with members of the ruling Awami League party taking away their cameras.

Read more: Is Bangladesh's media freedom deteriorating?

Growing anger

The protests began after two teenage students were run over and killed by a bus speeding down Dhaka's Airport Road on July 29. Since then, thousands of students have taken to the streets, with some even controlling traffic.

More than 100 people were injured in clashes with police in the Jigatala neighborhood on Saturday, with witnesses saying that officers had fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators.

They also reported that alleged pro-government activists had attacked protesting students.

The Awami League has denied allegations that its supporters had inflicted violence on the protesters.

Read more: Declining terror attacks: Why Bangladesh can't afford to be complacent

High road toll

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the protesters to go home, and authorities have reportedly shut down mobile internet services in much of the country in an apparent bid to slow down protest mobilization and the spread of material that could cause further public outrage.

According to police, some 3,000 people are killed every year on Bangladesh's roads. But that figure is disputed by the private organization Bangladesh Commuters' Welfare Association, which says at least 7,397 people were killed in road accidents last year.

The protests over Bangladesh's transport regulations, which are widely seen as lax and corrupt, are also feeding into more general anger at the government's management of the country.

Recent months have also seen mass protests against a decades-old system of discriminatory civil service recruitment.

Students take control of Dhaka streets

ap, tj/jlw (dpa, AFP)

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