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After 9 days, students' protest on road safety in Bangladesh ends

Press Trust of India  |  Dhaka 

The unprecedented protests by the students in demanding better road safety laws today virtually came to an end, with agitators returning to their classes after a nine-day-long stir that left over 150 people injured in clashed with riots police.

The death of two teenage students - a boy and a girl - by a speeding bus on July 29 brought thousands of schools, colleges and universities students on the streets of the capital, demanding strick implementation of road safety rules.

The two students were killed when two buses racing to pick passengers, a common occurrence in the city, hit them and wounded several others. One of the bus drivers fled the scene, although both were later arrested.

Authorities claimed that students have returned to their classes and every thing was normal.

"Today everything is normal. Students have returned to their classes," Mahbubur Rahman, of Bangladesh's secondary and higher education authority said.

"So far no of protests from any university," he said, adding that the authorities have shut down two universities in an effort to quell the protests.

Meanwhile, the has called a meeting of vice-chancellors of all private universities tomorrow to discuss clashes between police and students during the campaign.

"The meeting will take place at the International Mother Language Institute auditorium tomorrow," bdnews24.com said, quoting the

will the meeting, it said.

The protests saw teenagers and high-school students paralyse traffic in the Bangladesh capital and beyond. Buses were torched, hundreds of vehicles vandalised as alleged pro-government mobs attacked demonstrators, journalists, photographers and even the US ambassador's car during the protests.

On Sunday, some people, wearing helmets, attacked agitators and journalists covering the stir in

Transport workers yesterday, who went on a virtual shutdown citing security reasons for the past eight days took to the street and clashed with protestors, prompting police to use batons and tear

Police lobbed tear and rubber bullets, used water cannons and resorted to baton charge to disperse a procession brought out by the University students.

The police action on the protesters invited criticism of the from the United Nations, and rights groups.

At the height of the protests, students were seen managing Dhaka's notorious traffic and checking whether drivers of the cars and buses had valid licences and proof of roadworthiness of their vehicles.

In a bid to calm down the protesting students, the also promised to consider death penalty for deliberately causing road deaths and approved a new

Bangladesh appeared to be one of the world's worst accident prone countries with the saying more than 4,000 people die in road accidents each year.

More than 4,200 pedestrians were killed in Bangladesh in 2017, a 25 per cent increase from 2016, according to a group to Protest Shipping, Roads and Railways.

Journalists today gave a 72-hour ultimatum to the government to arrest those involved in attacks on some of their colleagues while covering the protests. At least, seven photojournalists, including an (AP) were injured in attacks with sharp weapons, sticks and iron rods by youths wearing helmets at Dhanmondi, Jigatala and areas.

Meanwhile, an alliance of left-leaning student organisations, today announced demonstrations in all the educational institutions across the country tomorrow in protest against attacks on students.

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

First Published: Tue, August 07 2018. 19:30 IST
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