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Tens of thousands rally as Bangladesh job protests spread

AFP  |  Dhaka 

Tens of thousands of university students marched in cities across today in one of the biggest protests faced by Sheikh in her decade in power.

Students fighting against a controversial policy that sets aside jobs for special groups have united in mass protests rarely seen on such a scale in

In chanting mobs of students blockaded major roads and swarmed University, bringing traffic to a standstill in the congested capital of 15 million.

Police were deployed to the university where clashes in recent days left more than 100 students injured by tear gas and

"There are more than 5,000 protesters at the DU," a senior Metropolitan Police told AFP, referring to Bangladesh's most prestigious university.

Police in Savar, northwest of Dhaka, said an estimated 7,000 students had descended on a major highway linking traffic to the capital, causing chaos.

"They completely blockaded the road," told AFP.

In Chittagong, the second-largest city, students blocked a railway track. Protesters also caused disruptions in the major cities of Khulna, Barisal, Kushtia, Comilla, and

Protests intensified today after allegations circulated widely on of a violent confrontation between a ruling party

Demonstrators want the share of top positions set aside for minority groups and the disabled significantly reduced.

They are also particularly irate that 30 percent of positions are reserved for descendents of veterans from Bangladesh's 1971 independence war.

The has promised to review the quota system but that caused a rift among demonstrators, with some accepting the assurance and others rejecting it.

A pro-faction of the student movement had postponed its protest action but left-leaning groups pledged to keep up the fight.

"These job quotas are discriminatory. We want equal opportunities for all," said Mohammad, who said he missed out on a coveted job because of the allocation system.

- whose father was the architect of the Bangladesh's independence from - has in the past rejected demands to slash the quotas.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 16:35 IST
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