Students defy police to hold road safety protest in Rampura

A group of students is holding a protest rally in the Rampura Bridge area to press for nine road safety demands despite police efforts.

Students marched from the Hatirjheel area to Rampura Bridge around 1:40 pm on Thursday and formed a human chain.

Shohag Samia, a student from Khilgaon Model College who led the protest, alleged that protesters had come to the Rampura Bridge area for a non-violent protest earlier in the day, but were turned away by police as ‘there weren’t enough protesters’.

“The government and the police do not want peaceful protest,” she said. “There were 10-15 of us so they didn’t let us stay. But now we have returned in force and are holding our demonstration. No matter what obstacles we face, even if our lives are in danger, we will continue our protests.”

The protesters chanted slogans, including: ‘Police cannot stop our movement’, ‘Attacks will not stop our movement’, ‘Threats will not deter our movement’, ‘We want safe roads’, and ‘We want justice’.

The protesters also held a two-minute silence in memory of those killed in road accidents.

“We cannot allow them to take up positions here,” Nurul Amin, additional deputy commissioner of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police Khilgaon Zone, had told the media. “If they do, it will create unrest. We know this. It will interfere with the regular flow of traffic.”

“The government and bus authorities have accepted their demands. There is no justification for this movement. Agitators are infiltrating the ranks of the students to influence them and lead the movement astray.”

Students from Motherland School and College had gathered at the Hatirjheel intersection of the Rampura Bridge area around 12:45 pm.

They said they were preparing a human chain protest when police interfered.

“We will wait until today’s exam ends. But once it is over, school and college students will come and we will hold a human chain protest here,” one student had said, on condition of anonymity.

Students have blocked the road in the Rampura Bridge area for the past few days as part of an ongoing movement for road safety. The death of Md Mainuddin, an SSC student from Ekramunnessa High School, in a bus accident aggravated the protests further.

The demonstrations have caused heavy congestion in the area for the past few days, but the traffic situation seemed to be normal on Thursday.