• Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
  • Last Update : 09:14 pm

Students withdraw blockade for Wednesday

Protest
Students blocked Shahbag intersection of the city, affecting public transportation Mehedi Hasan Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Students say they will resume protests on Thursday if all of their demands are not met.

Students of several educational institutions have withdrawn the blockade at 4pm from different points in Dhaka, after occupying the streets for the better part of the day.  

Vehicular movement was returning to normalcy after the demonstrating students postponed their activities for the day, demanding justice for two college students killed by a speeding bus on Airport Road on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, protesters occupied the streets at Motijheel, Jatrabari, Farmgate, Uttara, Shahbagh, Mirpur, Kakrail, and Science Lab on Wednesday. Spearheaded by school and college students, the protestors vandalized more than 10 vehicles.

Students have been out on the streets since Sunday demanding punishment for the bus driver who ploughed into a group of students. Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College students Diya Khanam Mim and Abdul Karim Rajib were killed, and several others were injured.

The demonstration has struck a chord with students all over Dhaka. But it has also led to immense public suffering due to a lack of transport. 

In Jatrabari, the Dhonia College unit of Chhatra League assaulted second-year student Golam Rabbi. He was hit with an iron pipe in the leg. Rabbi received first aid at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).

The protesters occupied key intersections and roads of Dhaka on Wednesday morning | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

 

Motijheel, Mirpur, Shantinagar, Kakrail and Science Lab blocked

At Mirpur 2 students have stopped traffic to check drivers licenses of bus and human hauler drivers.

Students of Notre Dame College, Motijheel Government High School, Ideal School and College, and Model High School and College thronged Motijheel Shapla Chattar around noon and blocked vehicular movement.

Motijheel police’s Officer-in-Charge Omar Faruk said they were ready to tackle any untoward incident.

Protesters have had the Mirpur 12 intersection blocked since noon. Several hundred of them were seen moving towards Mirpur 14 while another group gathered in front of the BRTA office and stayed there for a while.

They later moved to Mirpur 10 intersection and demanded that the educational institutions take no action against the protests’ participants. They later headed towards Shaheed Ramiz Uddin School and College. 

 

Police’s ADC Kamal said they would not obstruct the protesters if their demonstration remains peaceful. “We are trying to reduce the public suffering,” he said.

Protesters at Mirpur 14 suspended their protest around 3:30pm as it started raining. They said they would resume protest on Thursday if their demands were not met by then.

A similar announcement came from protesters who had gathered at Shahbagh. "We will bring Dhaka to a grinding halt tomorrow if our nine-point demands are not met by Thursday noon," one of them said, before the protesters left the area. "We will gather at Shahbagh again tomorrow."


Also Read- Protests spread all over Dhaka


Around 12:30pm, students of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka Biggyan College, and Siddheshwari Girls' High School blocked the Shantinagar intersection.

They left the area around 1pm and moved towards Kakrail where Willes Little Flower School and College students have taken position. 

Meanwhile, BRAC University students occupied the street in front of the institution, blocking vehicular movement between Gulshan 1 and Mohakhali.

 Students stop a bus to check the driver’s driving licence | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

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In the morning, students blocked the Dhaka-Mymensingh Road at Housebuilding in Uttara. Police said students also blocked Farmgate’s streets but left the area without causing any trouble. 

They marched towards Shahbagh and, on the way, stopped buses and checked the drivers’ licences at Karwanbazar.

They gathered in front of BIRDEM before leaving for Science Lab, where students from the City College, Dhaka College, Government Ideal College Dhanmondi, and Birshreshtha Munshi Abdur Rouf Public College had gathered. 

Students from Mohammadpur schools and colleges, and Greenlife Medical College later joined them. The protesters blocked the streets in the area around 11:20am.

They checked licences of bus and human hauler drivers and were carrying placards demanding justice for Diya and Rajib.

One of the student protesters hand a flower to a policman | DhakaTribune

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More than 10 vehicles vandalized

The first reports came in the morning. Student protesters vandalized two buses at Karwanbazar when marching towards Shahbagh.

In and around the Science Laboratory intersection, at least six other vehicles, including a government microbus, were vandalized. Witnesses said police personnel were there when the incidents took place.

Several vehicles were also vandalized in Mirpur but the exact number could not be known. It is unclear whether the student protesters are responsible.

Protestors also vandalized a pickup truck of the tourist police near Mirpur Girls Ideal Laboratory Institute and flipped it over after a rumor about police charging batons on students near Dhaka College was spread.

Police were trying to move away from the spot, but the tourist police pickup got caught.

During the commotion, “students” in civil dress vandalized the car, while those wearing uniforms were trying to stop the violence. Later, students wearing uniforms flipped the car back upright.

Meanwhile, Bhasantek Government High School’s 10th grader Nafis Ahmed Ovi was injured when a car part hit him during vandalism of a vehicle. He was given first aid at DMCH. It is unclear whether he was part of the group that was vandalizing the vehicle.

A commuter, Md Hamid, said he understood the protesting students’ sentiment. “But I am not in favour of any protest that causes mass public sufferings,” he said.