• May 20, 2018
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bangladesh

Student protests rattle Bangladesh for a third day

Students took to the streets in Dhaka and elsewhere despite assurances from the government that it would review the controversial quota system

AFP
15:01 April 10, 2018

Dhaka: Hundreds of university students across Bangladesh blockaded roads on Tuesday in a third day of protests against what they say are discriminatory quotas for government jobs.

Students took to the streets in Dhaka and elsewhere despite assurances from the government that it would review the controversial quota system.

The mass protests roiling campuses across the country have been among the biggest faced by Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina in her decade in power.

At Dhaka University — where more than 100 were injured in clashes with police in recent days — students vowed to stage sit-ins until the government reform the quota system.

“We’ll continue our agitation until the authorities accept our demands,” said Rahat, one of the roughly 500 students camped out at the university’s main square.

The protest was largely peaceful, with no repeat so far of the tear gas and rubber bullets fired by police to disperse crowds.

But outside the camps, traffic was brought to a standstill as protesters blocked roads in the nation’s capital.

The protests also spread to private campuses for the first time since the demonstrations erupted on Sunday, drawing hundreds to the streets.

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

They are also particularly irate that 30 per cent of government positions are reserved for descendants of veterans from Bangladesh’s independence war in 1971.

The government promised to review the system on Tuesday, but that caused a rift among demonstrators, with some accepting the assurance and others resisting it.

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

Hasina — whose father was the architect of the Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan — has in the past rejected demands to slash the quotas.