Student protests draw global media attention

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Students blockade a road as they take part in a protest over recent traffic accidents that killed a boy and a girl, in Dhaka. ReutersAs young students continued their demonstration for a week, British newspaper The Guardian ran a story headlined ‘Teenagers bring parts of Bangladesh to a halt with bus death protests’.

Parts of the Bangladeshi capital ground to a halt for the seventh day running on Saturday, as thousands of students staged protests calling for improvements to road safety after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus, according to an AFP story used by The Straits Times and Gulf News.
AFP reports: More than 100 people were injured in Bangladesh Saturday after police fired rubber bullets at students protesters, a doctor and witnesses said, a major escalation in a stand-off between the government and demonstrators.
New York Times newspaper used the headline ‘Bangladesh Student Protest Spurs Warning Against Opposition Meddling’ as it published a Reuters story on Friday.
“A massive student protest in Bangladesh, sparked by the death of two teenagers mowed down by a speeding bus in the capital, has alarmed the government ahead of a general election and prompted a warning against opposition meddling,” read the report.
India’s Bangla daily Anandabazar Patrika, in its report titled ‘Dhaka streets under the occupation of the students, Government subdued’, said prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s government was trying to resolve the matter. It has announced to accept the 9-point demand of the students.
The Washington Post and Bloomberg, carried the Associated Press report which said five days of protests by tens of thousands of students angry over the traffic deaths of two of their colleagues have largely cut off the capital Dhaka from the rest of Bangladesh, as the demonstrators pressed their demand for safer roads.
The protests began last Sunday after two college students were struck and killed by a pair of buses and eventually paralysed the capital of 10 million, the report read.
Al Jazeera wrote on Friday that Bangladesh shuts down high schools as tens of thousands of students take to streets after two teens were killed by bus.
Tens of thousands of students in Bangladesh have rallied for a fifth consecutive day on Thursday after two teenagers were killed by a speeding bus, the online portal of the television network said adding that the demonstrators, mostly students in their mid-teens, chanted "we want justice" as they defied pouring rain to march in the capital, Dhaka, bringing traffic to a standstill.
The BBC mentioned on Friday that the education ministry has closed high schools across the country and promised to take their demands into account. However, this did not end the protests.
"We don't want any vehicles without licences on the streets. Those unfit to drive should not get licences, and we don't want underage motorists driving public transport," AFP quoted a protester named Mohammad Sifat as reported by the portal of the British television network.
The AFP report, used by Straits Times and Gulf News said authorities have pleaded with demonstrators to call off protests that have nearly paralysed Dhaka and prompted foreign embassies to issue travel alerts.
Thousands of students wearing school uniforms defied rain to block major intersections in the capital from Saturday morning, the report added.
"We have assured them that all their demands will be fulfilled and a law will be proposed in the next session of parliament," home minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Reuters.
The report, published by New York Times, quoted him as saying, "But we fear the movement may turn violent as there is a conspiracy to...make the government inoperative. We'll take stern action against those conspiring to exploit this by inciting the minors."
The minister claimed that law enforcement agencies had proof that activists of the student wing of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had been told to mix with protesters.
The BNP rejected the accusation of instigation.
Al Jazeera mentioned that anger has not subdued since a bus racing for passengers killed Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib on the roadside on Sunday.
It referred to local reports saying that the protests appeared to be spontaneous and disorganised, with the students not appearing to have any spokespersons or leadership.

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